CHICO – Instead of home at Chico, a home care company, offers a free local resource to help families start difficult conversations about end-of-life decisions with their older adult loved ones.
The resource is called Elderscopy, a playful name given to these conversations, since there are so many procedures that end up in a copy as a person ages, such as colonoscopy, culdoscopy, laparoscopy, mediastinoscopy, peritoneoscopy, and thoracoscopy.
“It can be easy to avoid discussion and planning later in life,” said Leuklyn Eichenberger, a Home Instead gerontologist and nursing advocate. “Evasion of important issues can not only endanger the health of an aging loved one, but also lead to family discord and unhappiness. Starting a conversation is the first step.”
Home owner Nathan Weil instead says it can be very difficult to talk about these end-of-life decisions.
“No one wants to feel old and no one wants to lose their freedom,” said Nathan Weil, owner of Home Instead, located at 2639 Forest Ave. Suite 110, which opened in 2001. And it’s hard to talk about death. They feel like their lives are over.”
Home Instead, offers home care with non-medical home care such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc.
Company consultants talk with adult children and their parents or other relatives. Weil said it is important for adult children to have such conversations around the time they turn 40. He said it was important to use the correct language when communicating with loved ones.
“It’s important to use the word ‘we’,” Vail said. “For example, “we are concerned about your driving” instead of saying “you should not drive anymore.” Children will say “don’t drive anymore” and their parents will find it offensive. Focus on yourself.”
Often, according to Weil, adult children start these conversations too late, and their older loved ones end up hurting someone when they drive or getting dented and dented in their cars. He also said it’s important to talk to older parents or loved ones about finances before it’s too late. Weil said that sometimes older people write a check for any expense that comes in the mail without checking who they give their money to, and they end up wasting money.
“In our industry, we meet people too late and their parents waste money and become victims of fraud. With everything that comes in the mail, they take out their checkbooks. There is a scam called “Grandma’s Scam”. Someone will say, “I got arrested, I need $3,000,” and they don’t even transfer money to their grandchildren,” Weil said.
Weil said older people will say they’ve been driving for 80 years, but driving at 80 is very different when you’re driving at 18 or 25.
“These are difficult conversations, but it is important that they are held at the right time,” Weil said. “We are always a resource.”
Weil said it’s easier to talk about future plans after someone dies than what’s happening right now. Everyone knows that they are going to die and people are not shy about talking about it, but these are much more difficult conversations and it is important that they be.
“Sometimes you have to hire a power of attorney. You can’t wait until it’s too late to do this,” Vail said. “So many times when I meet with families, the parents are a danger to themselves. We are happy to provide any advice. We help people talk to their parents and decide when they should. “These conversations can be very awkward. People would rather talk about sex than about not driving anymore.”
Some of the other questions that counselors discuss with older people are related to medical events, such as when they ask older people if they want resuscitation if they go into cardiac arrest.
“It’s important to act on behalf of parents,” Vail said. “There is nothing harder than seeing that your parents are not able to do something, and you cannot help them. These conversations are incredibly important.”
Weil said that when adult children turn 40, it’s time to talk to their parents.
“People can always call us and we’ll visit them,” Vail said. “Let’s go home. It’s good when there is a professional next to the parents.”
Weil loves his job.
“This is very rewarding work,” Weil said. “When we get home in the evening, we feel like we’ve changed the world.”
Obstacles, such as family communication, can interfere with healthy aging. The Instead of Home website says there are three ways to start a successful aging plan.
For more information, visit www.homeinstead.com/elderoscopy.