Plan for the Future

Planning ahead gives you the ability to make your own decisions, including decisions about end-of-life choices. Share your wishes with your family. They'll appreciate knowing what you want, and that will make their choices easier. Don't think of it as something you do for yourself. It's your gift to the people you care about.

This presentation is intended to serve as a helpful guide to things you need to know, or do, as you age. It includes tips for Medicare planning, scheduling health screenings at the right time of life, and the importance of making time to relax, among others.

Aging in Place

The Plough Foundation, utilizing a grant from MetLife and working with community partners, produced an informational booklet on universal design and aging in place that can be downloaded for free by visiting their site at the following address:

Source Organization: The Plough Foundation
Capture Date: 2015-04-22 

Long-Term Care

Visit TN SHIP's page for Medicare Assistance, our Long-Term Care Ombudsman program page if you're a resident of a long-term care facility and need help from an Ombudsman.

End-of-Life Issues 

What is an advanced directive?
An advanced directive is a set of instructions for the type of medical treatment you want and who you want to make medical decisions for you if you can't. Tennessee has four different types of advance directives: Advance Care Plan, Health Care Agent, Surrogate, and Physician Order for Scope of Treatment.
The various forms are available through the Tennessee Department of Health. 
What are the differences between the four forms?
An Advance Care Plan (available from the Tennessee Department of Health) "describes four situations and allows you to indicate which treatments you would want or not want if you were in one of those situations. If you have additional directions, you may include these on the form. This form can also be used to name a Health Care Agent, a person you choose to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself" *Description provided by Alive Hospice's The Gift Initiative.
A Health Care Agent or Surrogate is a person designated to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. You pick your Health Care Agent; a Surrogate is chosen for you. This person is like your "Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care." This person is not the same as the "Power of Attorney" who makes financial decisions for you.
A Physician Order for Scope of Treatment (POST) is like the Advance Care Plan but must be completed by a Physician.

Medicare and Medicaid/TennCare pay for home health and hospice care providers to help patients and their families at home. This session will describe the Medicare home health and hospice benefits, other home care services, and how families should prepare for advanced illness and the end of life with advanced directives and caring conversations. The presentation will also cover the at-home Medicaid/TennCare benefit as an alternative to long-term care in a nursing home.

How To Manage End-of-Life Decisions

Involve your family, physician, or other important people in this process. It may feel uncomfortable at times, but these conversations will help everyone understand your wishes. Sharing your Advance Directive and other documents with them will also help them know your wishes. It will relieve your family of the burden of guessing what you want, and it can prevent hurtful disagreements between family members with different opinions.
Make your documents easy to find and get to. It's not useful under lock and key! Here are some ways to use technology to make your forms easier to find anytime, anywhere:
Keep PDF (electronic) copies on secure cloud drives, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, so you can access the documents when you aren't at home. (Before you choose one of these options, consider the privacy agreements.) 

Update your plans on a regular basis, as your situation or desires may change. Significant life events, like a divorce or death, are good times to re-evaluate your end-of-life plans. To remember to review your plans, choose an easy-to-remember date and review your plans on that day each year.

Where Can I Learn More?

The following Web sites have more information on Advance Planning. Note that these are non-profit groups not associated with the State of Tennessee. The information provided may be useful but does not necessarily reflect the position of the State of Tennessee.
The Gift Initiative (Alive Hospice) or 1-800-327-1085
Five Wishes (Aging with Dignity)
*This organization does sell products, but you can access useful information without making a purchase. For example, click "Preview a Sample of Five Wishes" to view their approach to Advance Care Planning.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
This site posted "10 FAQs: Medicare's Role in End-of-Life Care" in early November 2015. In addition to the lengthy question and answer content, there is also an extensive list of sources (many with links).