A living will is a document that indicates what medical procedures or measures your loved one wants or does not want done to them during the last stages of life. But is it the best way to fulfill that purpose?  Can the Living Will be used in another way?

My wife and I took care of her elderly father for seven years. During that time we had to make medical decisions for him. We were never asked for the living will. The doctors relied on our having the health proxy. At the end of his life my father-in-law was on a respirator. He was obviously in the last 48 to 72 hours of his life yet he was scheduled for dialysis the following day at 11:30 am. Doctors or hospitals are not going to forgo a procedure and risk being sued even if that procedure is useless.

We told them not to do the dialysis. They did not ask to see the living will. He died the next day at 10:20 am.

In that situation a living will is redundant. Its value comes in if relatives would dispute the decisions you make. You don’t want them second guessing what you do and you certainly don’t want them taking you to court.

Walking aids are best prescribed by a doctor or physical therapist. They can guide you on what is appropriate for your medical history but there is also room for personal preference. After all, you will be the one using the walking aid.

Wheeled walkers are also commonly referred to as Rollators. They come is a variety of shapes and sizes and with numerous optional features. Two of the most common types are 3 wheeled and 4 wheeled walkers.

The 3 wheel variety is more maneuverable and able to fit in more confined spaces. It offers less supports so is suitable for those requiring only mild to moderate assistance.

It is important to keep an activity appropriate to their ability. To over-stimulate a senior with memory difficulty can add frustration for both the senior and the caregiver. It may also cause the senior to withdraw further to avoid embarrassment and frustration.

Here is a list of some activities for Alzheimer’s to consider:

  • Simple games
  • puzzles
  • watering plants
  • dusting
  • polishing
  • flower arranging
  • playing cards
  • folding laundry or towels
  • taking a walk
  • baking cookies
  • mixing ingredients
  • cooking
  • baking cookies
  • watching movies
  • reading aloud
  • listening to music
  • singing songs
  • dancing
  • weeding and gardening
  • looking up names in a phone book
  • reminiscing
  • looking at old family photographs
  • simple conversation
  • cutting simple pictures from greeting cards
  • playing or moulding clay or play dough

Keep the pace simple, remove expectations, and know that just caring to do creative activities with an Alzheimer’s patient adds to their quality of life. Smile, laugh and enjoy them

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