It Always Seems Too Early, Until It's Too Late
Speak for Yourself, Plan Your Care, southwest Michigan’s advance care planning program, has become a growing topic of conversation. We often hear, “I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time now” as people begin to have discussions with loved ones about advance directive documentation. So many of us have been there – we know we need to plan for and discuss these topics, yet we never seem to get around to it. In fact, when people in the United States were surveyed, 80 percent of them said they would prefer to die at home, yet only 20 percent of them achieve that in the end. Why? Sometimes it is unavoidable, but usually it’s because they have not documented their preferences or shared them with their loved ones
Many people think advance care planning is merely about death, and something you only need to do when you get older. Not so. We are encouraging everyone, at any age, to identify a person who will advocate your healthcare wishes if you are unable to. The focus of “Speak for Yourself, Plan Your Care” is to start meaningful discussions with loved ones and define what “living well” means to you. Any of our 36 (nearly 80, by the end of the year) trained facilitators are available to guide you and your loved ones through this conversation and help you prepare and properly distribute documents. This is a living document and you are encouraged to review it regularly in case any decisions have changed.
If you’d like to get started but aren’t sure how to choose an advocate, we can help. If you already have a healthcare power of attorney or an advance directive document, we can review it with you to ensure your wishes are noted and updated in your medical record. If you are part of a service club, a faith community, or book club, we offer facilitation with groups, as well as a screening of the PBS special “Being Mortal” with
a follow-up discussion.
These conversations don’t have to be depressing. In fact, they are often filled with memories, beautiful moments, and “I didn’t know that about you!” comments. Best of all, when you make a plan while you are healthy and before a crisis, it gives your loved ones the gift of not having to makepainful decisions during a very difficult time. If something happens, they won’t be left with guilt or self-doubt, because they’ll know your wishes are being honored.
Contact us today for more information, or to set up a facilitated conversation. We’d love to talk with you!
Email ACP@LakelandHealth.org, or call Julie Griffin, Advance Care Planning Coordinator at (269) 429-7100, extension 3208