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How To Create A Care Plan for Future HealthCare Decisions

Senior couple looking over documents together

It’s comforting to have a plan. According to Stanford University professor Michael Bratman, that’s because having a plan supports a sense of freedom and autonomy over your life. As you get older, it can become even more important — and reassuring — to have a plan to manage your health. Having a detailed care plan in place can boost your confidence and give you a feeling of control over the way medical situations will be handled, should they arise.

The Importance of Having a Care Plan

A care plan provides a map for you and loved ones to follow in case of a medical emergency or in order to navigate day-to-day medical needs and identify caregiving challenges. Having a care plan can be particularly important for seniors with a health condition such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease and for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Included in a care plan are details regarding:  

  • Your health conditions
  • Medications
  • Health care providers
  • Health insurance information
  • Emergency contacts
  • Caregiving resources
  • End-of-life care choices

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the  benefits to having a care plan, include:

  • Improved quality of life by reducing the stress related to managing your health
  • Better management of chronic health conditions
  • Fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations
  • Peace of mind knowing that your family and caregivers understand how you want them to respond to a medical challenge

Steps in Drafting Your Care Plan

Although the questions you’ll contemplate in making your care plan can be weighty, the process of crafting the document is relatively straightforward. You can get started by downloading the CDC’s easy-to-use care plan document.  Next:

  • Talk to loved ones. Honest communication with loved ones will help ensure that they understand the wishes you’ll outline in your care plan so they can advocate for your needs.
  • Connect with your medical team. Ask for a list of current medications and treatments and for referrals needed for additional services.
  • Create a living will. A type of advance directive, a living will explains how you wish to be cared for at the end of life, outlining the types of medical treatments and interventions you want, or don’t want, including mechanical ventilation, feeding tubes and resuscitation.
  • Designate a power of attorney. Also called a healthcare agent, a medical power of attorney acts as your advocate, making healthcare decisions based on your stated wishes for care. Choose someone who can handle making tough decisions and make clear to them what you’d like to have happen in the event you cannot speak for yourself.
  • Share copies of your care plan. You’ll want your doctor, family members and the caregivers involved in your care to have a copy of your care plan. Keep an additional copy in a place your loved ones can easily access it.
  • Keep your plan up to date. Review and update your care plan and other important documents annually, or whenever you have a change in your health.

Let Us Be a Part of Your Plan

For over 30 years, Monticello West has been the go-to assisted living community in the Park Cities area. We provide residents with the support they need to get more joy out of life, and our continuum of care ensures that should healthcare needs change, residents have access to higher levels of care, including memory care here at Monticello West or rehabilitative and skilled nursing care at our partner, Walnut Place. With our compassionate assistance and access to the care you need, you’ll find renewed peace of mind as you contemplate the future. Contact us to find out more.