As one of the youngest members of our continuing-care community (that sounds funny coming from an almost-80-year old), I was surprised by the size of the crowd that showed up on a recent Wednesday afternoon for the first of a series of presentations on how to prepare for dying.
A lawyer specializing in "elder-care” issues spoke at length about how to plan for advanced care. He urged us to document what life-prolonging measures we would want when we became too sick to tell doctors ourselves. He stressed the importance of understanding the regulations. Not only do laws differ from state to state, they change frequently. Staying informed is a challenge. So is keeping your family, your physicians and/or your caregivers up-to-date on your wishes. Your mind may change as circumstances change.
Be sure to understand your options. One important lesson, for those of us who live close to hospitals in both DC and Maryland, is to try to persuade paramedics to take you to the Maryland hospital in an emergency because Maryland laws are more patient-friendly. Who knew?
Happier topics will follow.