Create a Lifestyle Care Plan

“Memory Matters” for ALL Ages   LINK TO PROGRAM

If you were in the care of another person, would they know your personal preferences regarding your daily care? A Lifestyle Care Plan will provide information others need to know in the event that you are unable to communicate effectively what matters the most.

One of things I have noticed during my 4 decades as a speech-language pathologist primarily in the area of home health care is the increased challenge of learning the stories and background of some of my older clients, many in their late 80′s and 90′s. When a person has communication problems or memory deficits it may be a challenge for them to provide any details. Families may know some information but have lived out of the area for a long time and often assume that the spouse knows but that person may be experiencing some cognitive deficits and is vague on details or has word finding difficulties.

Some things to think about:

1 .You may already have Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, a Living Will and/or Long Term Care insurance which are important steps. Have you created something that states your wishes if you need to be in the care of another person?

2. Each individual is unique and, with an emphasis on person centered care, having your specific wishes about the day-to-day things can be very helpful in maximizing the quality of  your life. Everyone’s perception and knowledge of who you are is different.

3. Some of the areas where you might want to express your thoughts might include your background, your values, preferences, habits, routines and lifestyle choices.

4. The Golden Rule says “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The Platinum Rule was an expression coined by Dr. Tony Alessandra. ”Do unto others as they would do unto themselves.” That is why it is never too early to make others aware of what you prefer.

5. When a person creates a Lifestyle Care Plan those who are responsible for their care will have better knowledge of what matters. Here are links to samples of how that information can be used whether a person is able to remain in their home or lives in a nursing home to maximize the quality of their days.

Things to consider:

1. Create an overview including pertinent parts of your background such as values,  religious or spiritual preferences and possibly consider creating an ethical will.

2. Think about location preferences and what could maximize that setting. It is little things that can matter like the room temperature, type of pillow you prefer, the view, and what else you want to be surrounded by or not.

3. Don’t forget food and beverage preferences, what you prefer to wear, favorite activities and those things you do not want to do.

4.  You should also share what might be unpleasant or stressful for you. There may be allergies or sensitivities that can make you uncomfortable. Sometimes there are programs someone may put on the television that annoy you, certain types of music, or a person that you prefer not to visit you for whatever reason.

As you can see with the sample Lifestyle Care Plans, knowing what a person prefers will allow family, friends and caregivers to create some pleasing settings for those who cannot state those wishes or may be reluctant to ask.

 TO DO THIS WEEK: What are 5 things you would like someone to know about your preferences? Begin a conversation to learn what a family member or friend might choose in some of the areas mentioned and put together some details about yourself.

“Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone’s life forever.”  Margaret Cho

Information on Kathryn’s products and links to sample pages.    Kathryn is available for private consultations as well as educational and training programs.

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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