At Home in Alexandria (AHA!) is hosting a free, four-part series on how to anticipate and plan for events that take people by surprise, such as an emergency trip to the hospital, the sudden illness of a family member or friend or an unwelcome medical diagnosis.
AHA! helps support seniors who want to remain independent in their own homes as they age. Yet, some events come from “out of the blue.” According to AHA!, national surveys show that only 25 percent of people have ever discussed emergency plans with family, friends or others.
All sessions, which are free and open to the public, will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Charles Beatley Library, 5005 Duke St.
- Thursday, Feb. 21: “Out of the Blue: When the Unexpected Changes Your Direction.” This session will feature a moderated exchange with panelists who have experienced unexpected events that have changed the direction of their lives. Attendees will learn how personal styles and planning (or the lack of planning) have influenced the outcomes and what each panelist wished he or she had known ahead of time.
- Thursday, March 21: “A Trip to the Emergency Room.” An emergency medical specialist and a hospital care coordinator will take participants step-by-step through a visit to the emergency room. They will cover what you, or the person representing you, will need to have with you upon entering the hospital, what happens in the hospital, what happens when you are discharged and how to choose appropriate home care.
- Thursday, April 25: “Know Your Rights and How to Ensure Them.” A Virginia attorney will discuss the legal directives and health care documents that need to be developed and filed so that you can control decisions made about your care or the care of a family member or friend.
- Thursday, May 16: “End of Life: How to Write the Best Last Chapter.” Talking openly about death and dying is difficult for many, but there is much to be gained by honest assessment, planning and open communication. Discussion will include palliative and hospice care, making sure your affairs are in order, determining what is important to you in order to bring peace and a sense of accomplishment in this last stage of life and planning a funeral or memorial service that reflects your wishes and sense of self.
AHA! is the only “village” operating in Alexandria, joining more than 27 nonprofit “aging-in-community villages,” which are operating or in development in the region, and more than 100 nationwide.