When my grandmother—Oma, as she was affectionately called—first transitioned into a long-term care facility, it was our daily phone calls that I missed the most. But I would soon learn my biggest regret—not having conversations around end-of-life care with her sooner. As she resided in a care facility, I navigated managing and paying for her care to the best of my abilities, never quite sure I was making the right decision, but always acting in her best interest.
Recently, I collaborated with The Conversation Project, an organization dedicated to helping people navigate end-of-life care discussions with their loved ones, to share my own caregiving story. It’s also a site that has a wealth of resources for those looking for tips to start having care discussions. Whether it’s choosing a health care proxy or how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, The Conversation Project has many free resources in multiple languages to help you on your caregiving journey and is something I wish I had known about when I was a caregiver.
If there is one thing I learned from my caregiving experience, it’s to have end-of-life care conversations—and sooner than you think you need to have them. I wish I had been more proactive with my grandmother’s care, and if I could give a future caregiver advice, it would be to come up with a plan with your loved one for their care before there is a crisis. Many factors go into planning for someone’s care, including location and finances, but also ensuring that you have the proper legal documents to be able to effectively manage the care as your loved one wishes.
As an advocate, I would like to see the narrative shift from end-of-life discussions to how you can help your loved one live a dignified chapter of their life. I hope that this change in perspective will help people be more inclined to have these conversations and make it easier for both caregivers and the people they care for.
*This post is part of a sponsored post with The Conversation Project.
P.S. I’m going Live on Instagram on Saturday, December 16 at 11 am EST with Jessica Cording, a Registered Dietitian and health coach. We’ll be chatting about navigating grief during the holiday season and offering healthy lifestyle and nutrition tips for busy caregivers. Tune in to ask us your questions!