Questions worthansweringStart the conversation with family,friends and caregivers by asking andanswering these questions.
•;If;I;need;help;looking;after;myhouse or with the cooking andcleaning, where will I get it?
•;If;I;am;no;longer;able;to;drive,;howwill I get around?
•;If;something;happens;to;me,;whodo I want to make decisions aboutmy medical care?
•;Who;do;I;want;to;make;financialdecisions for me?
•;Where;and;how;would;I;like;tospend my final days?
You don’t want to wait for
a crisis to try and muddle
through these issues
Asking questions and preparingfor the future has positive payoffs,Mann says. When people understandyour wishes, they can work togetherto meet them. This is particularlyimportant if something happens andyou 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 rightnow, but planning for the day whenyou might be very ill is a good idea.It’s also a good idea to plan for theend of your life.
Alberta Health Services’ AdvanceCare Planning: Conversations Mattergives individuals and families step-by-step resources for thinking about,talking about and writing downhealth-care wishes.
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 drivingIllness can affect your ability todrive and put you and others on theroad in danger. Driving with certainmedical conditions, at any age, can berisky, especially if they impair yourdriving, explains Dr. Bonnie Dobbs,a University of Alberta professor inthe Department of Family Medicineand director of the Medically At-RiskDriver Centre.
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 orconcerns with a family member,friend or health-care provider beforethey become serious or you have anaccident is far better than after.
If you’re worried about a familymember’s driving abilities, Dobbssays you can open up a conversationby saying: “Mom, I’m concernedabout your safety and that someonemight get hurt,” or “Dad, we haveboth seen things that show you arehaving some problems driving.”
For more information on seniors anddriving, visit ualberta.ca and searchResources for seniors and familymembers.