Sometimes people joke around with others about getting older or dying, or losing our capacity, and the joking around goes something like this: “I don’t mind dying, it’s the getting there that bothers me,” or “I want to die peacefully in my sleep at 95 like grandpa, and not screaming like the passengers in the car with him just before the accident” and so on and so forth.
Many of us do die suddenly, often peacefully, and with most of our abilities somewhat intact. But if we have a long glidepath towards death, and happen to have some form of dementia, or Alzheimer’s, it is possible we will be unable to communicate very well, if at all.
In these circumstances we might have neighbors or friends or loved ones or a spouse who can speak up on our behalf.
Our care, most argue, is best delivered by those who not only have technical skills in the delivery of care (nursing or otherwise), but who know or understand us.
But what if we have no one around to relay our history, or they are far far away? Or what if no one left really “knows” us? That’s a challenge for caregivers.
As one small step, completing a sort of “values and information” document can help. Such a document isn’t really related to a lot of legal issues, rather it gives a little glimpse into your personality and values.
Armed with such information, caregivers can better help you in the event you are not able to communicate much of anything. And if some respect is given to your thoughts and wishes (even as it becomes harder and harder, or impossible for you to communicate the wishes) many think you will do a bit better until death.
Our firm has a values and information document that is always evolving. Feel free to play with it, or use it, in any manner you wish. It is below. (Also, see the earlier blog post on our page called: I Hate Oatmeal)