BROOKINGS, S.D. - According to the South Dakota Department of Health, only one out of every three South Dakotans has an advance directive. Older adults are more likely than younger people to have advance directives. However, accidents, especially among farmers and ranchers, can happen at any age. Advance directives are how we ensure that our family and doctors know our wishes for health care when we are unable to speak for ourselves.
Advance directives are developed when individuals and families engage in the process of advance care planning. According to Theresa Garren-Grubbs, South Dakota State University Nursing Instructor, advance care planning often requires families to have multiple conversations. “These conversations involve discussing some pretty tough stuff. For example, the person we choose to speak for us may be required to make a decision that ends our life,” said Garren-Grubbs.
Waiting until a crisis occurs is often devastating for families. “Conversations that matter: advance care planning for rural families,” is now available on the SDSU Extension website. This free booklet is designed to be used by anyone interested in hosting educational events about advance care planning. The materials facilitate small group discussions and provide participants with the basics to get started establishing their own advance care plan.
“Part of what motivated us to develop these materials is because of confusion about what precisely advance care planning is,” said Leacey E. Brown, SDSU Extension Gerontology Field Specialist. Brown indicated that some think long-term care planning and advance care planning refer to planning for nursing home or other care options for people who need help with routine daily tasks (e.g., cooking). Advance care planning is about situations when you are not able to speak or otherwise communicate your wishes for medical care.
For more information, contact Leacey Brown, SDSUy Extension Gerontology Field Specialist at 605.394.1722 or by email.