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4 Fears Surrounding End of Life Care and How to Overcome Them

about-a-dog-and-a-man-1376105Conversations about elder and end of life care can be difficult to approach. Often, they come up unintentionally, when attending a funeral, driving past a nursing home, or even watching a movie regarding the subject. Your loved one may drop a hint or two about his or her wishes for end of life care. It is important to start a conversation about this serious topic and encourage your loved one to put in writing what he or she envisions for end of life care.

Fears are common about this subject, but the earlier you start planning, the less daunting the prospect seems. If you haven’t yet had this conversation with your parents, keep the 40-70 Rule in mind: have an intentional conversation surrounding end of life care by the time you are 40 or your parent is 70. Even if the conversation seems frightening, it will bring you peace to know you are planning ahead. Below are some of the common concerns surrounding end of life care.

1.      Having feeding tubes and ventilators keeping him or her alive

Encourage your loved one to develop a living will, in which he or she can detail the type of treatment desired in the case that he or she is unable to make these decisions later. Consider involving a lawyer, as living will requirements vary from state to state.

2.      Spending the end of his or her life in a nursing home, hospital, or other institution

Talk about home care options with your loved one, and make sure he or she understands all the choices for end of life care. Take time to consider everyone’s wishes, budget, and comfort levels to be prepared for when the time comes.

3.      Mental impairments such as dementia and Alzheimer’s will affect their decision making

Have your parents designate a person who is trustworthy and who will look out for their best interests with Power of Attorney (POA). This person will act on their behalf in the case that they can no longer make decisions for themselves. Make sure this is a person that your parents trust to carry out their wishes regardless of their mental state.

4.      Losing independence

Look into at home care so that your parents can continue to live at home as long as possible. Many options are available, including home health aides and full time in-home nurses. Explore all your options to ensure that your loved one remains independent.

Remember that when having this important conversation, it’s always best to communicate clearly, take notes, and keep documentation of the matters discussed so that there will be no disagreement about end of life care when it is time to take action. Anxiety and fear surrounding end of life care is common and understandable. Keep in mind that the best way to alleviate these fears is to know you have already created solutions for these issues in the future.

For more information on end of life care, see:  40-70 Rule: An Action Plan for Successful Aging.

About Sacred Heart Villa

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ created Sacred Heart Villa (formerly St. Michael Convent) in 2003 with the vision of providing a personal care home for the Sisters and other seniors of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters renovated St. Michael in order to create 35 personal care residential rooms. Sacred Heart Villa officially opened her doors to her first new residents in May 2004, with space for 57 Sisters and 40 other senior residents.  The facility has two residential buildings, a remodeled dining room, a new fireside lounge, library, café and beauty shop. The chapel remains in the middle of the facility for it truly is the Heart of the community. Each new residential room provides an individual with privacy, safety and security in an environment of beauty and grace. Mass is celebrated each day and is open to the public.

Sacred Heart Villa is now accepting residents. If you are seeking care for yourself or loved one, contact Sacred Heart Villa today at 610-929-5751 for a tour. You can also visit or visit us at