Self Advocacy and the Real Living Will Process
In my work I often see families doing their valiant best to follow the desires of their senior loved one. “Mom would not want that”, or “Dad said we would have to drag him out of his house”. These are conversations, and while good they do not meet the standard required to ensure that your wishes are prioritized and your choices are respected. All reading this article understand the need for a Last Will and Testament, a.k.a. A Will. This document ensures your wishes are followed after your passing. So, why wouldn’t you apply the same focus on your wishes while you are still alive?
A Living Will expresses your wishes and desires when you are less able to do so for yourself. Focused on care and end of life direction, the Living Will can be as important as your Last Will and Testament. Here is where I ask you to do something more advanced than the average, and who wants to be average anyway? Take a pad a paper and write down all of the blue-sky things you want for yourself in your senior years.
The list may look like this.
My Real Living Will:
- I want to live in my house as-long as I am safe. Spending money to ensure my safety is approved. I wish to use all of my resources to achieve this.
- If I can no longer live at home then I want live at this or that seniors living community
- While alive I contribute to my church, the Humane Society, the local Boys and Girls Club. I wish this to be continued
- These are my interests, hobbies, and on-going practices that I habituate. Coffee in the morning, and a drink of whiskey after dinner, I hate tuna fish…
Your list could be longer. You get the idea. Let’s call this a Real Living Will. Now, how do I get someone to ensure that your Real Living Will is respected?
You have documented it. Now you have to find the person, or people that will make it happen? With the document in hand you review, then interview those people in your life that would, indeed make this happen for you. In most cases the family comes around you and understands what you want, and importantly commits to it.
Christine Wilson story.
Chris was one of the residents in a senior-living community that I was responsible for, and more years ago then I care to admit. She was a career teacher, and never married or had children. What she did have was awesome. She had appointed three life long friends to take care of her affairs as POA’s for care and finance, and Executrix’s of her Will. Christine took it deeper. These ladies knew everything one needed to know about the care and feeding of Christine Wilson, and they followed through for their friend. Regular visits to Christine and regular follow-ups with the community leader team. Christine did it right.
So, there you are reader. I am offering you a choice between your wishes being respected and someone else’s thoughts, ideas, and interpretation of your wishes being the reality.
Here’s hoping you keep getting that whiskey after dinner, and no one gives you tuna fish….ever!
Chris Treftlin – Shine at Home