Category Archives: Personal Stories

Pain

Pain is not something I have ever been a fan of. Actually, I have always been afraid of it in lethal doses as with torture, cancer, trauma, or acute disease (myocardial infarction) or the myriad exacerbation possibilities of chronic diseases. I have made a career of trying to eradicate pain from the lives of all patients, but especially hospice patients.  With the help of my wife in promoting end of life conversations, we have tried to lessen and soften the emotional, mental and spiritual pain of inevitable changes we ALL will face.

As a nurse for over 24 years, I have witnessed the devastating effects of chronic conditions and diseases. Too long to name here, the lengthy list of aliments that have the ability to affect our quality of life is known to many people. Most everyone knows someone who is living with an awful disease. Some may often be preventable, and many are treatable.  Certainly there are always behaviors we can eliminate and choices we can make that may promote the general wellbeing of our future health.  Many of us hope to grow old, with dignity and good health. Many wish for a peaceful end for our lives which, despite all hope, often does not go as we expect. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst I like to say.

Personally, and I say this very seriously … I did not expect my fate would be to fall prey to, of all things, something as common as Arthritis!  More pointedly, “end-stage arthritis” as the orthopedic doc I saw this week phrased it. It never occurred to me that arthritis could be the source of such mind numbing, relentless, severe pain as I have been experiencing with growing intensity for the past 5 years. Although arthritis, in and of itself, is not really fatal, the death of my independence and function as it once was, occurred none-the-less. And there are millions who experience this around the world every day.

I always thought arthritis was an “old person’s” disease. I never would have dreamed in a million lifetimes that this is what would finally break my armor and take me down.

I once believed in the “no pain, no gain” slogan often spouting from the competitive nature many have within the rigors of physical achievement in sports and general athletics. This mantra of Spartan-like stoicism in the face of brutal resistance even spills into academia, politics, and religious worlds of all who believe that they will achieve their goals “no matter what” the costs. Just ask any nursing student who has worked full time throughout their entire nursing education. Or ask any Evangelist who builds wells in Africa in the midst of civil war and political coup. We all fight our fights, pick our battles, and slay our demons as we struggle toward our personal (or unified) goals.

So, yes, in the majority of the circumstances I agree with the “No pain, No Gain” philosophy. Just my own experiences with backpacking the Grand Canyon for many days at a time ring true in this sense.

But then there are the situations like the one with which I now have come face to face; the ones where no amount of suffering will yield a positive outcome.  Fortunately, I can have hip replacements to alleviate my pain and be able to regain some of my independence for a while longer.   I won’t die in arthritic pain as some may have in generations before me.

Clearly there is a reason most human beings died before age 60 in the past. There just wasn’t anything to gain from prolonged suffering. There were few options to constant unrelenting pain. With the exception of opium, alcohol, and barbaric, antiquated surgical measures, humans suffered and died long before 50 became the new 30.

And yet even with the modern technological advances in medicine and surgery, there are many who now find themselves in states of mind-numbing pain. Whole disciplines of science have been developed over the recent years to combat pain, cure diseases and even stave off death. But one factor has been sadly overlooked.

There are not enough resources to cover the continually growing numbers of people approaching “older” status. There are too few doctors, nurses, social workers, aides, clinics, hospitals, ancillary staff and even funding to handle the growing populations across the entire planet.

Escape Fire is a documentary (available on Netflix) that exposes this “Achilles’ heel” of our medical profession today. This is not alarmist, fatalistic, or negativism. This is reality. Unless we, as a country, align ourselves with forward-thinking neighbors in other countries, the world is destined to fall into a “Survival of the Fittest” mentality. But unfortunately there may be no relief from pain for anyone unless you are affiliated with the “winner.”  To me, this is a frightful prospect to ponder.

As humans, we possess the capacity for the most beautiful artistic creations, marvels of scientific advancement in space travel and DNA modification, architectural designs, agricultural success and compassionate empathetic behavior worthy of sainthood. Yet we focus much of our resources on defensive posturing and aggressive superiority in matters of future concerns. My hope is that we may all join together in the united effort worldwide to alleviate fear, hate and pain for everyone. We were all given free will, but some do not wield this compassionately.

“The value of life. That people have to be kind to each other…” Helga Weiss- an interview with a holocaust survivor.

So where do you stand?

©2016 Caring Choices

 

Birth________ Death:

Like a book, what is in between is what matters most.

When reading a book, was it the cover that attracted us to it?  More likely the impact of its content is where appreciation and fulfillment lie.

Why would we suddenly then be afraid of that last page or back cover? Certainly the better the book, the more likely we would feel varying emotions as it draws near. There is also the option to stop reading the book by stopping somewhere along the way. Some believe that once started the book must be finished no matter what. This is a choice as well. And for some, reading is never a possibility. There may be too many obstacles to overcome. I have also heard “Never judge a book by its cover.” Often people are anxious and excited to reach the end of the story. Now apply this to life.

Why would we suddenly be afraid of what we all know is the inevitable outcome: The end of the book. Why would we care more for the beginning of the book than the end? Depending on the content, the comprehension of the reader and the expectations, the stage is set. The pages of our lives are turning each day. To a degree we often have the ability to do some editing. Others may be helpless to do anything. But we all will finish this life book someday.

In our excitement to improve and lengthen life, we have unknowingly vilified death, or the end of the book. Long ago, we cared for our loved ones in stoic acceptance as they died in our homes. We honored and comforted them. Loving, laughing, crying, grieving and sharing in their care as they died.

Today, everything is an emergent crisis which we must repair! Death has become unacceptable. And in many cases, the trauma, disease or advancing natural decline is so severe that no amount of medication, procedures or diagnostic testing can reverse the process. And there is often unnecessary suffering endured in place of honest communication. Afterwards, when all the possibilities have been exhausted, we warehouse these poor souls and give the buildings softer names to offset the harsh realities within their walls.

Quantity of time has become preferable to quality of life in hope of miracles, cures, new science and luck.

I have been a nurse since 1993; and 11 years in Hospice. Each day passes with a new chance to lessen the stress for those around me. I have seen the acceptance of our mortality, and at times, together with faith, replace the fear of death, with appreciation and anticipation of what the next book may be. If even one person has a softer path from this life, to that final page and the back cover because of something we have done or said, then we are sincerely thankful.

Caring Choices is committed to this mission.

© 2016 Caring Choices

 

Tomorrow is Too Late

“Yesterday is rarely too early but tomorrow is frequently too late.”

This was the inspirational quote in my inbox this morning.  It made me think of a woman I spoke with recently who shared that she was taking a family member to the beach today because it was the family member’s last wish.  They aren’t waiting for warmer (beach) weather.  They aren’t making elaborate plans and reservations.  They are simply packing warm clothing and blankets, getting in a car, and driving today to honor a last wish.  Waiting would likely reduce the last wish to regret.

Procrastination is a habit we get into in life.  There may be things deemed more important on which we spend time.  Some tasks are too daunting when seen in the whole so we put off starting them.  We typically procrastinate on doing things that are not fun.

Anyone who has children can understand how time flies.  “Yesterday” my son was born.  A few months ago, he turned 30.  Life flies past us more quickly than most of us like.  Tomorrows arrive (and are in the rear-view mirror) more swiftly as we get older.

Procrastination is very strong when it comes to talking about healthcare choices and making decisions.  Facing a medical crisis, traumatic accident or terminal diagnosis doesn’t usually allow for procrastination.  They often demand deliberate, thoughtful but prompt decision-making.  Given the experiences we’ve had and witnessed, waiting until tomorrow is frequently too late (as the inspiration quote states.)  Emotions run high when faced with the immediacy of unprepared decision-making.

Learn how to start important conversations with people you love today so you can reduce the emotional burden of tomorrow.  April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day (#NHDD).  Be like the woman taking her loved one to the beach today.  Don’t wait for “beach weather.”

© 2016 Caring Choices

Grief and Gratitude

People frequently say: “I don’t want to be a burden to my family.”  And yet without conversations, planning and guidance, that’s exactly what we may become to them.

A loved one’s involvement through the end of life experience, especially having decision-making responsibilities, can greatly impact how they cope through their grief and bereavement.

  • If they feel guilt and remorse over making decisions, they’re likely to feel guilt, maybe resentment, through their bereavement.
  • If they have the benefit of knowing our values, beliefs and decisions, the emotional burden of decision-making is decreased and bereavement is likely to be less fraught with negative emotions.

Below is our illustration of the general concept of how we experience grief with the actual “closer to the truth” experience of grief.   Some assume that the deepest grief is felt immediately at the loss (as indicated by the darker shade of the line).  As time passes, and we move away from the moment of loss, the shade of the line grows lighter – so does, supposedly, the depth of our grieving feelings.  In reality, grief and bereavement have a less-defined trajectory as illustrated in the second “line”.  Grief is different for each individual, as it is for each situation, whether it be death, divorce, loss of job, loss of independence, etc.  One size does not fit all.

Loss and Grief pic

There is a method of coping with grief that may seem absurd.  Yet, it can be helpful when you’re ready to consider it.  The notion is that of gratitude and creating a Gratitude List.  Not, of course, that you’re grateful for the loss (death, divorce, loss of job, loss of independence, etc.) BUT that you are able to see how the loss transformed your life in a positive way.    I’ve written before about the year I turned 30:  One month after my 30th birthday, my Dad died unexpectedly.  Four months later, I was filing for divorce and leaving my home with my then 8-year-old son to move back in with my Mom.  At that time, I could only focus on the enormity of the losses.

Shortly after Mom died (five years later), I realized that had those things not aligned as they did, I (and my son) would likely not have had those years with Mom so closely in our lives. And there began my Gratitude List of experiences after deep losses:

  • We were able to support each other through the loss of Dad.
  • I was able to be Mom’s primary caregiver through her final years of life.
  • I learned a lot about family caregiving that influences my life and work today.
  • We learned first-hand the benefits of Hospice care.
  • My son had the benefit of living with his Grammie for five years.
  • We had the benefit of being prepared for Mom’s death because we had time together to talk.

I’ve added to my Gratitude List with other losses over the past 22 years (that’s how long my Dad is gone).  Some might say this is simply finding the silver lining in each cloud but I believe it’s more than that.  It’s not just positive thinking or reflection.  It’s about recognizing and accepting positive changes in your life when really awful things have happened.  There is a research group at UNC Charlotte who works on this topic, which they termed “post-traumatic growth”.  When you’re ready, check them out.

Caring Choices understands that loss is inevitable for most of us.  Falling into the depths of despair because of loss can be lessened.  We have the power to prepare people we love for loss which can allow them to eventually make their own Gratitude List.  It starts with communication. We can help.

© 2015 Caring Choices

End of Life is More Than Death

Too often the phrase “end of life” is synonymous with DEATH.  When Jim and I talk about end of life, we focus more on the final year of life.  The moment of death is just that … one moment.  One minute you’re alive, breathing on your own (or assisted with machines); the next minute, you’re not.

Sounds harsh, right?  But yet each of us will face that final year of life, as will those who share life with us.  It’s difficult to comprehend, isn’t it?  Many final years will only be examined in retrospect by those left behind, as I’ve done below about my parents.

My Dad’s final year (August 15, 1992 to August 15, 1993) was spent building my house, working on my brother’s store, and fixing things up around his and Mom’s house.  He went to church every Sunday as he did his entire life.  He enjoyed holidays with big family gatherings. He watched his grandson play baseball and soccer.  He volunteered as a Fire Policeman for Tuckahoe Fire Company.  He helped people with their carpentry projects.  He read his Bible.  He enjoyed Mom’s home cooked meals.  He loved and ate a lot of ice cream.  He lived life.  He also had high blood pressure and was taking medication (for several years).  He had high triglycerides (and also took medication).  He was overweight by probably 30-40 pounds.   He had arthritic knees and required replacement.  He replaced one in November 1992.  He had a painful recovery that lasted for six months.  Then, he got shingles which he suffered with — they were intensely painful — for a couple more months.  He saw his kids turn 35 and 30.  He celebrated his oldest brother’s 50th wedding anniversary (that’s the last picture I have of Dad and Mom together).  On August 11, 1993, he had his first heart attack which sent him to the hospital.  During the next four days, we all assumed Dad would be coming back home soon. On the morning of August 15, 1993, he had his second (and would-be-fatal) heart attack.  He died 14 days before his and Mom’s 45th wedding anniversary.

My Mom’s final year (May 17, 1997 to May 17, 1998) was not as “busy” as Dad’s but then Mom had a chronic illness since she was a little girl, which limited her functional level each year as her age and disease progressed.  But she still lived life on her terms, taking care of my son while I was at work, cooking and baking as much as she could, enjoying her soap operas on TV, and having family holidays one last time.  Mom’s lung disease – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – was much more “predictable” than Dad’s heart attacks.

Trying to wrap our brains around the fact that some period of 12 months will be our final year of life is daunting.  The real challenge is in knowing when we begin our final year.

COPD and heart disease (not acute heart attacks), like many chronic illnesses, have baseline trajectories that physicians can use to better project disease progression and prognosis.  There are a lot of fancy disease trajectory images on the internet but I drew the two below to illustrate that even in the “final year,” there are points of interest not only in living our lives but also in planning for the future … typically a future without us in it.  Like my previous blog on Recognizing the Signs, these trajectory graphs illustrate the importance of knowing how to recognize and react to the signs that our bodies are giving us.

Dads Final Year

Moms Final Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The signs are more readily apparent for people like my Mom than people like my Dad.   Understanding that diseases have trajectories can help us better prepare for that final year – the end of life – and not just focus on the moment of death.  When patients and their families understand what’s ahead, and they’re given tools to prepare for anticipated scenarios, they will have better outcomes.  They won’t cheat death, but they may savor more of their final 365 days knowing that they’ve made a plan that will help them and their loved ones when that final moment arrives.

Caring Choices focuses on living through the end of our lives, not merely planning for the final days/hours leading up to death.  It’s not easy to talk about, but ignoring it won’t make death go away.  We can help you talk.  We can help you plan.  We can help.

© 2015 Caring Choices

Release Our Grip

I attended a seminar this week to discuss issues that affect the aging (65+) population.  One of the speakers shared a story about her 90-something-year-old father who died earlier this year.  Being a nurse, she suggested to the doctor during her dad’s final hospitalization that perhaps a particular procedure could help him be more comfortable.  She said the doctor told her that of course they could do that but the risk to her father outweighed any benefit given his age, his condition, and the likelihood of his death in a very short time (which occurred only a few days later).   She also shared that what the doctor told her next made quite an impact on her.  I don’t remember the statement verbatim, but it was something like:  “The angels are pulling him up by his shoulders and you are trying to drag him down by his feet.”  Just hearing her rendition of it impacted me.  So much so that I sat down at the computer with my Publisher program and free clip art and came up with the illustration below. (I’m not an artist, but I think it gets that doctor’s point across pretty well visually.)

Shoulders and Feet

It’s beyond difficult to let go of people we love. It’s downright painful and heart-wrenching.  Even 22 and 17 years after the deaths of my Dad and Mom (respectively), I can still recall the scenes of their deaths and the emotions I felt at that time.  And there are times when the span of those years seems very short, as if I just lost them.  I always remind myself that I was fortunate to have had them for 30 and 35 years (again, respectively); but there are also times when I feel “cheated” as I watch my friends still enjoying time with their parents today.

But now that I know what I know about the desperate attempts to hold on to our loved ones, I have wondered if we did harm to Dad by having him airlifted from one hospital to another in a last ditch effort to keep him with us.  Did the procedures forced upon his ailing body in his last several hours really do him any good?  I’m certain he was not aware of any of it.  And at the time, I didn’t understand what was happening.  He was off in another room with medical professionals doing their life’s work.  I just knew that it wasn’t looking good for him to survive and I didn’t want to lose my Dad.  I wonder, if we’d really understood what was going to be done to him, would we have pursued such aggressive, invasive procedures?

He died that day, in August 1993, despite the “heroic” attempts to keep him with us.  He was 66.  If he had survived until now, he’d be 88.  If what happened to him then were happening to him now, I know what my decision would be.  And as hard as it would be for me, I know it would be better for him if I’d release my grip.

Caring Choices –They’re not easy to make.  But they’re necessary.  We can help you start talking now to avoid guilt and regrets down the road over the choices you may be forced to make.

© 2015 Caring Choices

Competing Agendas

Watching someone waffle between hope and despair is a heart-wrenching spectacle.  Having the benefit (or is it a curse?) of a healthcare education, she can see what’s happening to someone she loves and idolizes.  She is suspicious that the specialist may not be sharing all the options with her family, yet she’s hesitant to question the physician for fear of taking away the glimmer of hope she sees her loved one clinging to.    Of course she doesn’t want her parent to die but she also understands that everyone does … and especially when she sees the signs so blatantly in front of her.  Her agenda is to allow loved ones to cling to their hope while she prays that the doctor will soon address the elephant in the room.

The physician, she says, has never spoken of anything except another round of treatment.  There has never been a compassionate discussion with the patient and family about goals beyond treatment.   There has been no recommendation of a palliative care consult for pain and symptom management.  This specialist’s agenda is to follow the treatment trail until it ends, either peacefully or, more likely, in a hospital as a last ditch effort to count one more day on this earth.

The spouse of the patient knows something is amiss yet she doesn’t question the physician.  She and the patient are of the generation when the doctor knows best and you don’t question authority.  She recognizes her husband’s decline and fears for her own usefulness when he is gone.  He is her primary caregiver and her lifelong partner.  Her agenda is to love him until his final breath and not allow him to know her worry for her future without him.

There are still others involved in this scenario with agendas of their own in the care of this patient and his family.  Some have the best intentions but are restricted by the nature of their position.  Still others may struggle with the moral or ethical question of when to share information with the patient without the physician’s authorization.  (A suggestion of hospice is often overruled by reasoning such as “not appropriate,” “not there yet,” or “too soon for that.”)  Some are friends of the daughter and offer suggestions and guidance based on similar paths they’ve walked.  Some are professional healthcare colleagues, not involved directly with this patient, who are ready to support whatever decisions the family makes.

The most important person whose agenda is not addressed in this scenario is the patient himself.  The assumption is that he’s clinging to hope for himself when in reality he may be sharing the same worries of his wife – what will happen to her when he’s gone?  He is likely concerned about his daughter – “Daddy’s Little Girl” – whom he’s always supported through these kinds of losses.  He may very well understand that any more treatments are going to be useless for his condition, yet he doesn’t want to take away the doctor’s hope of curing him.

These competing agendas can (and often do) occur to varying degrees in every end of life Competing Agendas TALKsituation.  The only way to end the competition of different agendas and avoid unspoken concerns, unwanted treatments, and make room for compassionate care is to talk.  Talk with family.  Talk with physicians, including specialists.  Talk with religious advisors.  Talk with friends and colleagues.  Talk to whomever matters to you … but do it before things change so rapidly that the agendas are no longer relevant.

Caring Choices can help you align agendas to eliminate competition and ensure compassionate care when you need it the most.  Talking about what we want as the patient, what we need as the loved ones and what we’re able or not able to do as the healthcare provider is the most valuable gift we can give each other.  Talk is not cheap; it’s priceless.

© 2015 Caring Choices

Recognizing the Signs

It seems everywhere you turn there’s a sign showing us the way, urging caution, providing information, enticing a purchase, warning of danger, or providing some of other kind of assistance/information.  Most signs that command attention are in red or yellow providing warnings or cautions leading us to adjust preparations, choose another path or proceed cautiously.  Most of these signs are blatantly obvious, in our faces and difficult to ignore.  Some are downright unsafe to ignore.  When you’re on the road, a detour sign forces you to change course.  Caution signs alert to an upcoming challenge or danger and one must react accordingly to protect yourself and others. RoadSigns for blog

There are many signs in life, however, whose meanings are not so obviously apparent or easily followed.  There are subtle signs which can be misinterpreted, easily ignored, or dismissed.   The signs most difficult to recognize and follow are the signs our own bodies present when the end is nearing.

Contemplating the death of a loved one is rarely without dread.  Recognizing the signs of the failing health of someone we love is difficult, even to trained eyes, but they are most often present in one subtle way or another.  When my Mom was admitted to Hospice care, I was presented with a booklet written by a long-time nurse.  It provides a “road map” of different signs that may be present when a loved one is within months, weeks, days and hours of death.  It may seem gruesome to some but this book helped me recognize when my Mom’s body was giving me signs that she was about to depart our lives.  This book, called “Gone From My Sight,” provided me with insight to know when it was time to call other family members to Mom’s bedside.  [Caring Choices has given this booklet to several families who have found it just as helpful.]

As I read through the booklet after Mom died, hindsight illuminated other subtle signs that Mom’s body had been showing us for the last year of her life.  Fortunately, Mom knew her body well through the lifelong course of her specific disease.  She recognized the signs each time she had pneumonia before the doctors and hospitals ran the necessary tests to confirm it.  She wasn’t afraid to talk about the changes she felt and where those changes were leading.  She talked about death because she lived with the specter of it all her life; she understood her prognosis and what would likely claim her life.  This doesn’t mean she didn’t LIVE life and enjoy it.  She did.  We did.  And on the day of her death, I knew what she wanted and didn’t want. I could recognize and interpret the signs because that booklet and my Mom had prepared me to accept the signs.  It changed my grief experience because I didn’t feel guilt or remorse for making a “wrong” decision.  I followed the signs.

Caring Choices is available to help you recognize the signs, talk about the signs, and follow the signs.  Blatant or subtle, signs are intended to help us.  Knowing what the signs mean can help us make decisions to benefit the people we love.

© 2015 Caring Choices

Last Drop in the Bucket

Imagine your life is a bucket and time is a drop of water.

Perhaps, at one time or another in your life you have felt that there were no answers, no choices, no hope and no point in trying any longer.

But there was still a tomorrow. Drop by drop.

Suppose you found you were at a crossroads with detour signs, one way streets and construction seemingly blocking every possible way to proceed.

But there was still a tomorrow. Drop by drop.

Suddenly you may have become aware that there were no friends, family, counselors, clergy, or available options for you to seek solace, find comfort or peace from turmoil.

But there was still a tomorrow. Drop by drop.

We often hustle into each day with our hopes, dreams, goals, tasks, responsibilities and clocks trying to accomplish something, even if it is to just reach the end of it.

But there is still a tomorrow. Drop by drop.

Imagine now, there is no tomorrow. Your bucket is rapidly approaching its limit.

How would this change your thoughts? What would be most important for you to achieve? Who would you want to share these last hours minutes or seconds with?

It is difficult for me to comprehend there would be no tomorrow. I have Pasta sauce thawing in the refrigerator, there are chapters to read in my class, there is potato salad I want to take to a Birthday party. But then these are the thoughts from a person with a relatively pain free, mostly healthy body, growing spirit of hope, and compassion.  A mind eager for continued learning, creativity and consciousness.

Life has shown me many paths. Along this journey I have seen many different people. Each who cope in their own way. Each person has the same number of hours in every day.  Yet I see many with vastly different focus, priority, and ambition. They are rightly giving their attention, energy and purpose to a countless array of topics, goals and directions. Among these there is constant debate in the world of who is most wise, wealthy, famous, or attractive. We want to know who is the most talented, strongest, or fastest of all.

Billions of dollars are spent to direct our attention, shift our focus, and recruit our interest. We are consumers after all. Every one of us, from the moment of birth, targeted for advertisement. What we consume most of all is time, every one of us at the same pace every day. Drop by drop. What we often waste most of all is time also. And we often do not put enough value on our time until there is no tomorrow.

Caring Choices hopes that by encouraging conversation between people we can eliminate the barrenness of lost hope when our lives are suddenly faced with the reality that there may be no tomorrow. Long before it becomes hours, minutes, or seconds left, there is opportunity for discussion about choices, hopes, and questions asked that may or may not have answers. But the questions will still then be asked. Questions asked by and with family, friends, counselors or clergy. Questions can be asked about options, hopes, dreams, goals, tasks or responsibilities. Is your bucket of time half full, or is it half empty? Please don’t wait until “The last drop in the bucket” and opportunity is lost.

© 2015 Caring Choices

Not Always about Dying and Death

I recently had the opportunity to provide a Caring Choices presentation titled “Decision-Making for a Loved One.”  The people in attendance were strong advocates for elder loved ones in fluctuating phases of aging and health.  Some are dealing with varying stages of dementia; others are in end stages of chronic illnesses.  Still others have recently experienced acute illnesses that thrust their family members into decision-making roles sooner than they anticipated.

Since becoming a Certified Dementia Practitioner, I’ve also presented a staff in-service and community seminars on the complex, multi-faceted umbrella of neurocognitive disorders (dementias) that afflict many individuals and their loved ones.

I’ve come to really enjoy teaching these sessions and offering educational opportunities to people who are trying to understand the disease process a loved one is going through as well as coming to grips with their role as caregiver or decision-maker.

Caring Choices offers education and support to individuals and their families in order to prepare for whatever their future health concerns might be.  We’re not solely focused on the “end stage” of diseases, dying process, or the death bed experience.

Our goal is to help people have conversations about what’s important to them in every stage of their lives as age advances and health declines.  Below is one of the slides I presented which seemed to best illustrate the purpose of the conversations we’re promoting.  These are some of the decision-making criteria that are important to me.   As we reviewed this slide, I could see the “lightbulb moment” for some of my presentation attendees.  They started thinking about their own criteria to help their families make decisions if they’re unable due to an acute crisis or other medical emergency.  It’s not always about dying and death … sometimes it’s just about what matters most at a particular moment.

2015 07.04 Blog pic

Caring Choices is available to provide education to your group as well as personal consulting to individuals/families. Conversations are important in determining your decision-making criteria.  The presentations we offer can help you figure that out and help your loved ones have the knowledge and courage to make decisions when they most need it.

Contact us to schedule a presentation to your community group or organization.  570-428-2021

© 2015 Caring Choices