COLUMN: A good day tomorrow starts with a good talk today

Advance Care Planning gives you control over the health care you get now and in the future

A good day tomorrow starts with a good talk today.

Advance Care Planning gives you control over the health care you get now and in the future.

It makes sure you have a say about the health care you get if you can’t speak for yourself. It means thinking about and sharing what matters to you.

Knowing and sharing what matters to you regarding your care will help your caregivers make the decisions you would make for yourself.

Q: How do I start planning?

A: Think, Learn, Decide, Talk, Record.

Think and reflect on what brings your life meaning, what brings you joy, what are your values, and what a good day looks like for you.

Learn about your current health and the treatments you may face in the future.

Decide who would speak for you if you were unable to speak for yourself.

Consider who knows you well, and is willing and able to speak for you.

Talk to the people who matter to you about what brings your life meaning and how you would like to live.We may believe those close to us know what matters the most to us – but if we don’t say it, they won’t know.

Record your reflections such as your goals, fears, worries, and priorities.

You can write your thoughts down or video record them, and then share copies with people that matter to you.

You may also wish to complete legal documents or talk with your health care team about medical orders.

Call or email Fraser Health’s Advance Care Planning team to talk over your options.

Q: How do I start the conversation, and with whom?

A: Talk to people who matter to you.

Tell them what brings your life meaning, who would be your substitute decision maker if you were unable to speak for yourself and what decisions you’d want them to make.

Sometimes these talks aren’t easy. Here are some tips: Be straightforward: “I want to talk with you about what is important to me.”

Find an example from the news: “That story about the family fighting about their mom’s care made me realize that we should talk about these things so the same thing doesn’t happen to our family.”

Q: Where can I find more resources?

A: For more information, go to our Fraser Health website: www.fraserhealth.ca/acp

The Advance Care Planning team is available via phone at 1-877-TALK-034 (1-877-825-5034)

The Semiahmoo Seniors Planning Table is a group of individuals who care about the inclusion and wellbeing of older adults living in the White Rock South Surrey community. Visit semiahmooseniors.com

Cari Borenko Hoffmann is Lead Advance Care Planning Fraser Health; Laura Bainbridge, Social Workers, Advance Care Planning; and Lauren Thomas, Nurse Clinician, Advance Care Planning.

Seniors

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