Community Blog

5 Questions to Ask Your Parent About Their Future Care Wishes

By Ketan Shah

Caregivers in Palo Alto CA

While it is not something that you likely want to dwell on, as a family caregiver for your aging parent, one of the most important things that you will need to handle for your senior is their end of life transition. During this time you will face many decisions and situations that could be extremely challenging for you, but that you need to handle with confidence and care to ensure the best possible experience for both your aging parent and you.

Part of being fully prepared for this time in your parent's life is making sure that you understand their wishes. Taking the time to talk to them about their future care wishes and opinions will give you greater confidence in your ability to care for your senior, and help your parent to have peace of mind as they move into this chapter in their life.

When you are ready to record your parent's future care wishes, use these questions to help guide you and ensure that you know everything that you need to:

What is the first thing that you think of when you think about end of life care? Most people have some immediate reactions when they think about the type of care that they want to receive when they are moving toward the end of their life. Encourage your parent to tell you about these initial reactions and what they feel when they think about them.

How do you feel about resuscitation? Many people are under the assumption that people either have to be resuscitated if their heart stops, or that most people want to be. This, however, is not necessarily the case. Many elderly adults want DNRs, or Do Not Resuscitate orders. These are specific documents that state that the person should not be resuscitated in the event that their heart stops. Make sure that you know how your parent feels about this important issue so that you can take the steps to ensure these wishes are handled properly.

How do you feel about life support? Likewise, there are many different thoughts and feelings regarding artificial life support. This is not as cut-and-dry a situation as you might think. Talk to your parent about how they feel about life support and if there are any situations in which they might or might not want this type of life-extending treatment.

What are your thoughts on hospice care? Hospice care can be a wonderful way to ease the potential stresses that come with this time in your parent's life. This type of care is designed to provide relief from painful or uncomfortable physical symptoms, as well as the emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs that can come during this time. For some, this can be the ideal choice for managing the needs of a senior who is in this transition. Your parent, however, may not be what your parent wants. Talk about the pros and cons of this type of care and allow your parent to make the choice that is right for them.

What are your feelings about your final arrangements? Most people have specific ideas about what they want for their final celebration of life. Whether it is a full funeral and burial, a cremation, a simple viewing, or no gathering at all, this is an important expression of their wishes and their personal views. Making sure that you know these wishes will help you to feel more confident when the time come for you to make these decisions and arrangements for your loved one.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Palo Alto, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.