My Dementia Journey: National Healthcare Decisions Day 2024

By Kim Martin
April 16, 2024

My name is Kim Martin, and two years ago I began to notice changes in myself. I no longer enjoyed reading, and I had difficulty retaining information when I did read. Many commitments I normally liked were feeling burdensome, and it was becoming hard to keep up. I thought I was getting lazy. I never imagined it was Alzheimer’s disease.

A neurologist soon confirmed: I do have Alzheimer’s. My husband and family have been incredibly supportive, and we’ve successfully navigated difficult conversations essential for me to establish plans while I still possess mental clarity.

National Healthcare Decisions Day, observed annually on April 16, motivates people to communicate their healthcare wishes while urging providers and facilities to honor them. Today I encourage you to initiate or continue discussing your end-of-life care preferences with those close to you.

It’s not uncommon for families to feel uneasy discussing dementia, but my end-of-life preferences are always on my mind. Recognizing this discomfort, I have used Compassion & Choices’ Dementia Values and Priorities Tool to clarify my final wishes and articulate my intentions, ensuring my loved ones understand how to honor those wishes and provide support.

This tool is tailored to address the unique and evolving challenges of dementia, and prompts reflection on personal values and future choices — including the consideration of hospice care.

If you have an opportunity to plan and discuss, it is wise to do so with those it impacts. Please consider using Compassion & Choices’ Dementia Values and Priorities Tool on National Healthcare Decisions Day.

Compassion & Choices
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