Seniors’ Column

This week's column looks at the planning and preparation needed for moving in to those golden years.

It’s never too early to begin planning for your care when you become elderly. It will be easier for the people you trust to make decisions based in accordance with your wishes on your behalf.

You never know when a serious accident such as a fall or illness might result in rendering you incapable of making your own personal health care treatment decisions.

The following are some suggestions on how to begin, according to HealthLink BC (dial 8-1-1). Commence by telling someone who is close to you (such as your health care provider) you wish to talk to them about your future health care. A helpful resource entitled My Voice Expressing my Wishes for Future Health is available upon request.

When you write down your wishes and instructions regarding your future health care, note this basic advance plan consists of the following reminders. Included is a written record of your beliefs, values and wishes for future health care treatment through conversations you have made in concert with close family or friends and your health care providers.

Next, list the names and contact information of the people who qualify to be on your temporary substitute decisions maker (TSDM) list in the order which is established by BC law. Note also that your plan may also include a Representation Agreement (RA) where you write down your instructions and name someone to make decisions about your financial affairs, business and property in an Enduring Power of Attorney document which would take effect only when you become incapable.

Remember to keep your advance care plan documentation at home or in an easily located place such as a file folder or attached to the refrigerator with a magnet.

Also be certain to provide a copy of this documentation to your close family member(s) and health care providers in addition to your representative if you have named one, along with any others who are close to you.

Of course, we are reminded circumstances change in all of our lives, including our beliefs, values and wishes. However, as long as you are capable of making your own decisions, you can cancel or change any part of your advance care plan. Simply keep in mind that by taking the steps necessary, you are expressing your wishes and instructions for the purpose of ensuring future health care treatment.

By planning ahead, you retain a voice in future health care decisions and will be certain that your wishes are respected. Every capable adult should think about making an advance care plan as suggested by the BC Ministry of Health.


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