Step 6: Review your wishes and plans
Planning ahead is not a single event that happens once. It is more like a series of discussions and actions, an ongoing conversation over time. Your health, family and social circumstances – and possibly your attitudes and preferences – will change as you go through life and it is important that any plans you make reflect these changes.
Benefits of reviewing your plans
Reviewing your plans gives you a chance to keep open communication about these issues with important people in your life. It is also helpful if medical or other staff are worried about the currency of any documented wishes. It will make them feel more confident if they can see that you have revised, initialled and dated them at different times.
When should you review your plans?
Reviewing your plans and any written documents can occur on a regular basis as well as when circumstances change. You may choose to review your plans regularly each year or two around your birthday, an annual medical check-up or around New Year.
Circumstances that might prompt you to review your plans can include:
- diagnosis of a new health condition
- significant deterioration in an existing health condition
- reduction in your ability to live independently
- changes in support structures around you – such as divorce or death of a spouse
people you expected to be your substitute decision-makers not being able to do this any more.