Sunday, November 30, 2014

Medical Emergency Victims and End-of-Life Discussions

The thought of people collapsing around you and then being taken to a hospital Emergency Room could be enough to curb your enthusiasm about assisted living communities. You may feel you don't want to live surrounded by only old, infirm people.

Put aside those fears! Assisted living community residents include a healthy percentage of men and women whose needs are minimal, however you can expect senior citizens in vary stages of dementia, Alzheimer's, and stoke survivors. Walkers and wheelchairs and canes are common. Nevertheless, there are often some residents who simply want a safer, comfortable place to live that also offers a range of activities geared to their generation.

Whatever the mix of the population where you live, in an ALC or any place else, one vital topic should be addressed ~ end of life decisions.

Unfortunately, those decisions have not been addressed in far too many cases because so many questions need answers it's hard to know where to begin.

Care Givers [Caregivers Blog: Senior Care Support] provides invaluable information on many subjects. Scroll down the page to the following link which can give you a springboard to initiate discussions that will lead to appropriate action:

Are End-of-Life Discussions Covered by Your Medical Insurance? Martha Stettinius, the author of the October 14, 2014 article, provides answers to many questions, as well as offering good advice.

Stettinius is the author of the critically-acclaimed book "Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter's Memoir." You can read more about her here.

Back to what I started to write about, before I got sidetracked: What might actually happen after an ambulance has taken a ALC resident to a hospital Emergency Room? I don't believe my experience is unique so here's the scoop ~

I was the "victim", as medics refer to the person whose 9-1-1 call brings them to the "scene" [my apartment]. Due to prompt, appropriate medical care I was able to return home within 24 hours.

I'd had similar experiences before, so I wasn't surprised. I also know the majority of "victims" do return home, although admittedly the percentage drops among the elderly vs the general population.

What surprised me ~ made me teary-eyed and flooded my heart with that warm fuzzy feeling ~ was being greeted by several cards wishing me well! People who've known me less than two months cared! As soon as others saw me they offered encouragement, and help should I need it.

I suspect ALC residents have a decided advantage in such cases, vs the general population--no matter where they abide. And when the inevitable happens and death calls, shared memories of the good times spent with their ALC neighbors and friends comfort the bereaved family.

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