End-Of-Life Planning Is More Crucial Than Ever For Missoula Seniors Amid Pandemic

Approximately 11% of Missoula’s population are seniors. Of these, only 37% think they will need long-term care. But in reality, 69% will, according to Senior Care. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a crisp reminder “that things can change in a minute. So, you’ve to be ready,” says Sunita Puri, a medical director for palliative care at the University of Southern California.

Although the coronavirus case rate in Missoula is relatively low, the fragility elevates the urgency to make the end-of-life planning decisions. President and CEO of New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, Linda Schwimmer, says, “Maybe it makes people a little scared, but planning might relieve stress.” Here’s some advice to plan for the future amid a health crisis.

Set Up Advance Directives

Establishing advance directives is a vital step when planning for the last stages of your life. You want to spare your family the burden of making tough medical decisions when you can’t speak for yourself. Because advance directives cover the power of attorney and living will, you can clarify issues like your spiritual preference and where you’d like to be buried when you die. Filling advance directive forms also help determine whether you’d like to donate your organs or apply for after-death care such as funeral home preferences and cremation, and other special requests.

Plan Your Burial Arrangements

Pre-planning your funeral arrangements isn’t easy, but it could save your loved ones the stress linked to making burial arrangements while grieving. Since planning a funeral is a big decision, it’s wise to research and weigh your options in advance. Start by researching funeral homes and set up a budget and decide how and where you’ll be saving for funeral expenses. You can choose to purchase prepaid burial plans in a funeral home, open a payable-on-death bank account, or a joint bank account that specifies the right of survivorship.

However, purchasing burial insurance is the most preferred option. Several funeral insurance companies offer affordable premium rates, with policies that do not change nor expire. So, you’ll have peace of mind that your loved ones have enough funds to pay off funeral costs when you die.

Re-evaluate Your Goals And Wishes

Remember, an advance directive will communicate your desires when you cannot speak for yourself. Therefore, think through your values when it comes to the type of advanced care you want. For instance, if you dislike the idea of feeding tubes or ventilators, consult your doctors and let your loved ones know your decisions beforehand. After all, you’re making advance care plans to help them cope if the unexpected occurs.

Another factor to consider is who will make medical decisions on your behalf. Naming a medical proxy helps ensure you receive the medical care your desire at that moment you cannot communicate.

End-of-life planning is a task almost everyone avoids. However, it could help protect your family from making tough decisions while coping with an emotional situation like chronic disease or even death. So, make an effort to name a medical proxy, arrange your funeral, and put your assets and finances in order.