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Senior Moments from H.O.M.E.

Here's one thing you should do to prepare for a health crisis

Posted by Judy Smith on Apr 9, 2018 9:00:00 AM

If you had a medical emergency that required hospitalization, which hospital would you want to go to? If you needed rehabilitation services after an illness or injury, where would you want to have those services performed? Close to home? Close to family and friends so that they could visit you often?

These are all important questions that few of us have answers for.

Most of us try to avoid thinking about these unpleasant possible situations and simply hope that it will all work out for the best. Unfortunately, if we wait until a crisis occurs, it is less likely that things will be handled the way that we would have liked.

But you can make a plan.

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National Healthcare Decisions Day

Monday, April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day, a day to focus on the difficult questions and to ensure that each individual’s healthcare wishes are known and respected. At H.O.M.E., we are celebrating the day with some help from Northwestern Medicine and their “Plan Your Lifespan” tool.

“Plan Your Lifespan” is a free, web-based tool created at Northwestern University with the input of seniors, geriatricians, university researchers, social workers, communication experts, and home care specialists to help individuals make their own healthcare plan.

The focus of the Plan Your Lifespan tool is not to create advance legal directives such as a healthcare power of attorney or living will, but instead, to get you thinking about the logistics of your care and how you would want things to be handled if an unexpected health event arises.

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Answering the Hard Questions

On April 16th, Dwayne Dobschuetz, a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner with NMG Geriatric Home Care, is going to walk our residents and community members through using the Plan Your Lifespan tool on-line or with paper workbooks.

One of the great things about the Plan Your Lifespan tool is that you do not have to answer all of the questions at once, but instead you can take your time to think about them and answer the questions when you are ready.

Some of the questions to consider include, “If I needed physical therapy after an injury or illness, would I prefer to receive treatments at home or an outpatient facility?” and “If I were hospitalized, who would take care of my pet?”

While taking the time to think about how you would like things handled should a health event arise is important, it is also crucial to share your desires with others.

These conversations are not always easy to have, but letting your friends and loved ones know your wishes while you are feeling well is much easier than trying to communicate when you are sick or incapacitated.

Once you have considered your healthcare preferences, share your thoughts with everyone who might be involved in your care: family members, friends, care givers, and your current physicians.

As explained by Plan Your Lifespan, “Talking now allows you to plan for the life that you want to have.” Keep in mind that planning ahead and letting others know what you want will ease their burden if they are called upon to help you in the future.

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Join us at Nathalie Salmon House on Monday, April 16th at 11:00 am to learn more about advance healthcare planning and the Plan Your Lifespan tool.

Admission is free, but space is limited, so please RSVP by emailing Judy Smith at judys@homeseniors.org or calling 773-295-4077.

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