Start the conversation with family,
friends and caregivers by asking and
answering these questions.
house or with the cooking and
cleaning, where will I get it?
will I get around?
do I want to make decisions about
my medical care?
decisions for me?
spend my final days?
You don’t want to wait for
a crisis to try and muddle
through these issues
Asking questions and preparing
for the future has positive payoffs,
Mann says. When people understand
your wishes, they can work together
to meet them. This is particularly
important if something happens and
you can’t explain what you want.
Mann and Robertson agree that
the timing of such talks is critical.
“The further away aging and [health]
challenges seem, the easier it can be
to have those discussions,” Mann
says. “You don’t want to wait for a
crisis to try and muddle through
Robertson emphasizes the need to
start talking “now,” but recommends
holding conversations “when all
concerned are ready for discussions
that may be sensitive or difficult.
Opening up the discussion and
allowing time for reflection is vital.”
Opening up the conversation
You may be feeling just fine right
now, but planning for the day when
you might be very ill is a good idea.
It’s also a good idea to plan for the
end of your life.
Alberta Health Services’ Advance
Care Planning: Conversations Matter
gives individuals and families step-by-step resources for thinking about,
talking about and writing down
It can be hard to think and talk
about these issues. But planning for
the future can help you:
• Learn your options for care
• Save your loved ones the stress
of making hard decisions for you
• Make sure your wishes are
respected when the time comes.
You’ll find all the Conversations
Matter resources at MyHealth.
Alberta.ca (search for advance care
The delicate matter of driving
Illness can affect your ability to
drive and put you and others on the
road in danger. Driving with certain
medical conditions, at any age, can be
risky, especially if they impair your
driving, explains Dr. Bonnie Dobbs,
a University of Alberta professor in
the Department of Family Medicine
and director of the Medically At-Risk
As people live longer with illness
or chronic conditions, more drivers
will be at-risk or impaired, she
says. You may need to move to the
passenger seat if:
• Your driving record starts to slip
• Illness or injury affects your
ability to drive
• If you become anxious or
uncertain when behind the
Discussing such changes or
concerns with a family member,
friend or health-care provider before
they become serious or you have an
accident is far better than after.
If you’re worried about a family
member’s driving abilities, Dobbs
says you can open up a conversation
by saying: “Mom, I’m concerned
about your safety and that someone
might get hurt,” or “Dad, we have
both seen things that show you are
having some problems driving.”
For more information on seniors and
driving, visit ualberta.ca and search
Resources for seniors and family