Sure, people are living longer these days, but are their lives happy in their later years, or are they filled with stress, depression, loneliness, and confusion? Sadly for many, it is the latter. But there are steps that you can take to prevent this decline in quality of life from happening to yourself or your older loved one by planning ahead. Advanced care planning can drastically improve the quality of life for senior citizens in a myriad of ways. In fact, a recent study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that participants in their study who utilized advance care planning had “improved quality of care at the end of life, including less in-hospital death and increased use of hospice.”
Advance Care Directive
An advanced care directive lets the senior’s physician and loved ones know what the senior wants to do in the event he or she becomes incapacitated. Important topics for advanced care directives include the following, according to the National Institute on Aging:
- DNR – Do Not Recuscitate Order,
- CPR- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Order,
- Enhanced Ventilation Techniques,
- Comfort care, and
- Artificial nutrition – Feeding Intravenously .
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney gives the one appointed by the senior the legal authority to make decisions on the senior’s behalf. These decisions include financial (such as selling property, paying bills, and managing accounts) and medical (such as deciding what type of treatment to be provided.
Other Elements That Should be Discussed With an Attorney
An attorney should be consulted to develop and/or update a will, establish a trust, prepare for a guardianship should it be required, to plan for any organ donations you wish to make, and creating provisions for long-term care financing.
Daily Activities and Goals to Keep in Mind
In addition to legal considerations designed to relieve worry, there other elements to consider that will help keep a senior mentally, emotionally, and physically strong. As a start, these include the following four elements:
- Mental Agility—Keeping sharp by playing cards, chess, Sudoku, doing puzzles, reading, and engaging in deep and meaningful conversation are examples of how certain activities can be enjoyed to help people stay ahead of cognitive decline.
- Physical Health—Physical health is important, not only for basic mobility, but also for emotional well-being. Seated yoga, water aerobics, walks, and consuming nutritious foods are important aspects of daily physical health.
- Having a Sense of Purpose—Having a sense of purpose is important for everyone, but most especially, the Whether that is shopping with a younger family member, being asked for their opinions, or running errands, you can help a senior know that he or she is important to you and everyone, and it gives the feeling of having some control over their lives.
- Community—Humans are social animals, and that does not change with age. Being involved in the community, having friends, and going to social events will keep a senior from feeling lonely, isolated and focusing on positive rather than negative energy.
Call Maryland Elder Law Attorney Tara K. Frame Today
Tara Frame can help you and your loved one plan for a better quality of life by creating legal and medical directives before the need arises and by ensuring that the elements of a good life are in place for the senior. The attorneys at Frame & Frame are just a phone call away at 410-255-0373.