How to Begin Critical Conversations About Medical Care During National Older Americans Month

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Reviewed by Jason Neufeld, Esq.

Did you know that in May National Older Americans Month is celebrated?  National Older Americans Month was first celebrated in 1963.  At that time, Medicare had not been created and there were very few government programs that provided assistance to seniors in need. Also, more than one-third of all older Americans lived in poverty.  Fortunately, there has been a lot of progress over the past fifty years in the care of our older Americans. Now, during National Older Americans month,  we can honor and celebrate our senior adults across the country and raise awareness in regard to the many challenges they face.

As adult children, do not miss any opportunity to visit and honor your aging parents. In addition, many family caregivers should be given the credit for the increased awareness of the challenges of aging. Today family caregivers provide more than 80 percent of the day-to-day support for aging adults.

As an older American, we know that thinking about a time when you may not be able to make decisions for yourself is never easy. However, it is important that you do so in order for your loved ones to know what you want in the event of a sudden crisis or incapacity. We encourage you to set aside time as soon as possible to have the critical conversations with loved ones about your personal preferences for medical care and your long-term care. Below, we want to share with you some questions you can think about as you begin your conversation with your family.

  • Whom do you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf?
  • Whom do you NOT want to make decisions for you?
  • How do you feel about feeding tubes, life support, and other artificial life-saving devices?
  • Is there any type of medical care you would NEVER want?
  • If you were permanently disabled or incapacitated, what would contribute or take away from your “quality of life?”
  • What are your thoughts on skilled nursing home care versus in-home healthcare if it is an option?
  • How would you like your family to pay for the care you may need if co-pays become excessive or insurance does not cover your treatment?

Remember as you make your choices, it is crucial that you document your wishes through the estate plan you create with your Florida estate planning attorney.

Do you have questions? The Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA) is the pre-eminent organization of Florida elder law attorneys providing advocacy, education and action on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities. We encourage you to contact one of our attorneys in your area using our Find a Lawyer website for assistance.