Ruth, Project Coordinator for My Life, My Decision in South Lakeland, explores the importance of planning ahead to make sure that any future carers know our wishes.
Home is where the heart is. It is our own space, where we can feel happy, safe and relaxed enough to be our true selves. We use our homes to express our identity, through our choice of design, colour scheme, music, food, friendships, families and building memories.
In the future, there may come a time where you are less independent and need additional care and support. You could become unable to express your wishes to those caring for you due to a loss of capacity. How can you express your identity then? How can you make sure that people looking after you know how you want your environment to be and how you would like to be treated?
Completing an Advance Statement (sometimes called a Statement of Wishes) helps to make sure that your wishes, thoughts and beliefs are known and can be taken into account when people are making decisions about your care.
It supports those caring for you to understand your true identity
The My Life, My Decision project can provide you with a free form and support you to fill it in. Although it is not a legal document, what you write in your Advance Statement must legally be taken into account by someone looking after you when deciding what is in your best interests.
In your Advance Statement, you can write down anything that is important to you, such as:
- Any food preferences
- Religious or spiritual views
- Insight into your daily routine
- Your thoughts around treatment and care
- Likes and dislikes
Coming from a care background, supporting those living with loss of capacity, whether due to dementia, head injuries or mental health conditions, it is so important to be able uphold your own unique identity.
I was fortunate to care for a young gentleman who, due to a road traffic accident, suffered a severe head injury and lost capacity to make decisions for himself.
He was still able to enjoy music, his favourite band was AC/DC, and he enjoyed wearing his favourite aftershave and liked it when his mates visited and made him laugh. His room was decorated in his favourite football colours and he enjoyed listening to the football commentary and being taken outside to feel the sun on his face as he lifted his head up towards the sky.
As carers, we understood his unique identity; from the picture on the walls to talking with his family and friends. Sadly, this is not always possible without that prior understanding from family and friends and by having those personal things around to use as clues.
You may not decide that you would rather leave decisions about your future care and treatment to your healthcare team – but in any case, if you lose capacity you still want to be you.
Visit our Services Near Me page for more information about My Life, My Decision in your area.