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How To ​​Create a Care Plan for Future Health Decisions

Senior couple looking over documents together.

As you get older, it becomes increasingly important to have a plan to manage your health. Known as a care plan, this blueprint gives your loved ones and medical team direction for your care and makes it easier for you — and them —  to confidently handle medical situations that may arise.

What Does a Care Plan Do?

 A care plan creates clarity and direction. It outlines your health conditions, medications, healthcare providers, health insurance information, emergency contacts, caregiving resources and end-of-life care choices. For older adults, especially those with health conditions such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease, and for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia it’s vital to have a plan for managing health, navigating day-to-day medical needs and identifying caregiving challenges.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the benefits of having a detailed care plan include:

  • Improved management of chronic health conditions
  • Reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations
  • Better quality of life by reducing the stress related to managing your health
  • Peace of mind knowing that you, your family and caregivers are on the same page with your care

How to Craft a Care Plan

 You may want to use the CDC’s easy-to-use care plan document as a starting point. Here are some additional steps to consider as you prepare to create your care plan:

  • Initiate a conversation with loved ones. Clear communication with your loved ones helps them understand what you want when it comes to managing your care so they can better advocate for your needs in a health crisis.
  • Consult your medical team. Ask about community resources to help you navigate caregiving needs and health care decisions. Discuss your current medications and treatments, and get any referrals required for any additional services.
  • Draft a living will. A type of advanced directive, a living will gives instructions for end-of-life care, including the medical treatments and interventions — such as mechanical ventilation, feeding tubes and resuscitation — you want, or don’t want.
  • Designate a power of attorney. Also known as a healthcare agent, your medical power of attorney serves as your advocate, making healthcare decisions based on your stated wishes for care. You’ll want to choose someone you know can handle making difficult decisions. Talk with them about what you’d like to have happen in the event you cannot speak for yourself.
  • Share copies of your care plan. Make sure that everyone involved in your care, including your doctor and family members, have a copy of your plan. Also, keep a copy where your loved ones can easily access it.
  • Review and update your care plan. To be truly beneficial, your care plan needs to be kept up to date. Review your plan and other important documents every year, or whenever you have a change in your health.

Choose Your Support Team

Having a care plan — and a care team — in place can give you a welcome feeling of security as you contemplate the future. In assisted living in Parkwood, a team of caring professionals is ready to support you. Our caregivers can help with activities of daily living, our on-site primary care physician and nurse practitioners ensure convenient access to medical care, and our certified medication aides help manage and administer prescriptions. We also offer an innovative Health and Wellness NavigationTM program to  help connect you to the resources you need.

But we’re not just about providing residents with quality medical support. We also aim to create a warm, comfortable environment where life-enriching activities and a close-knit community of friends help you feel right at home. And if your care needs change, our continuum of care means that you can stay right here in the community where you feel comfortable. Contact us to learn more about assisted living and the other resources available at Parkwood Retirement in Bedford, TX.