Pella Chronicle

Health

May 3, 2013

How to prepare for the transition from child to decision-maker

(Continued)

Pella —

-A signed release to obtain information about medical care. Before you need it, ask your parents to sign a release form that allows doctors and others to speak with you about your parents’ medical care. It is best to clarify upfront the type and amount of information your parents are comfortable having you receive from health care providers, insurance companies and others.
-Advance directives. These address whether to use life-saving measures, resuscitation or machines should their heart stop beating. Understanding your parents’ advance directives can help you make critical decisions if your parents are unable to, and gives you  peace of mind in knowing that what you decide is a reflection of your parents’ wishes. If your parents already have advance directives, obtain a copy.. If they have not completed advance directives, help them to do so by contacting their attorney or medical provider.
-Your parents’ lifestyle. Medical treatment may vary, based on lifestyle, so it’s important to know whether your parents drink alcohol or use tobacco. Other lifestyle information also can be vital, such as whether your parents are eating balanced diets and what physical activities they engage in. Understanding your parents’ religious beliefs is important as well, especially when they could influence treatment decisions.
You want to make sure your parents never feel they are a burden to you. Let them know that you appreciate all they did for you while you were growing up and that you are grateful for the opportunity to support them  in return. 
It’s important to tell your parents how  much you enjoy spending time with them and include them in your family’s activities. Being a valued member of the family and having significant relationships with children and grandchildren will lift their spirits.  Always remember the value of living each day and cherish each moment you have together.  We honor our fathers and mothers by knowing them as individuals, offering support when needed and advocating for their independence as they age.

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