By Guest Blogger, Nicole Christensen.
“We have to talk” can bring dread to many (especially spouses or partners). We also know talking brings joy, understanding and peace of mind. The Spring season brings family and friends closer together. So let’s take this season to talk about what happens if we get really sick and can’t make healthcare decisions for ourselves.
There is a saying “There are only two certainties, death and taxes”. Unfortunately I don’t have an antidote to either. The tax season just passed, and it’s true (spoiler alert) we’re all going to die. BUT I have yet to find anyone who died of discussing healthcare decisions. So give your loved ones peace of mind by selecting your health care proxy.
How do you talk about healthcare decisions:
- It’s not taboo. Just bring it up at the dinner table.
- “My faith is important to me and I don’t want to have….”
- “I’m allergic to …. Please make sure that I don’t receive that medicine.”
- Talk about what you value. Examples: “I don’t want to ever be sustained by machines”..; “I have to be able to live independently…”; “There are new health findings everyday keep me alive until they find a cure…”; “Please don’t let me live in a nursing home…”; “I don’t want to be a burden to my family…”
- Discuss how best to carry out your wishes.
- Once you select your healthcare proxy TELL THEM. Being your healthcare proxy should not be a surprise.
Points to Remember about healthcare decisions
- The discussion with your healthcare proxy can and should be ongoing. You cannot think of every case scenario. However, if the person you select as your healthcare proxy knows your values and you have stated things you want or don’t want they will feel confident, if that time comes, they are following your wishes rather than having to decide your fate on their own.
- This is not a contest of who loves you the most it’s about who will be able to carry out your wishes.
- Those who love you don’t want to make the decision for you. Help them be your proxy and carry out YOUR wishes.
- Make a commitment to start the conversation this week and complete the healthcare proxy form by the end of May.
- Care Answered is here to assist. Find out more about Care Answered at careanswered.com or email Nicole@careanswered.com.
Healthcare Proxy–The New York Health Care Proxy Law allows you to appoint someone you trust — for example, a family member or close friend – to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. By appointing a health care agent, you can make sure that health care providers follow your wishes.–https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/patients/health_care_proxy/
Nicole Christensen, is the Director of Care Answered and a native Long Islander who has resided and worked in both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. She has over 15 years experience in advocacy for older adults. Ms. Christensen began her focus on the care and advocacy in her formative years. She went on to earn a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Baruch College and a Master of Science degree in Urban Affairs from Hunter College.
Notably, Nicole has held the positions of Advocacy Director at Emmaus Service for the Aging in Washington DC; Advocacy Consultant for The Council of Senior Centers and Services of NYC, Director of Food Access at FoodChange, spearheading the focused outreach and advocacy campaign; and most recently as the Vice President of Programs and Agency Relations at Island Harvest, she developed and launched the first Senior Citizen mobile outreach and advocacy program with great success. In addition to the many years of professional experience, Nicole has dealt with firsthand the challenge of securing the best possible care for her own parents and truly understands how overwhelming and daunting it can seem.