Debra lyn Johnson, MA, CSCC
Geriatric Care Manager, End of Life Doula, Patient Advocate
My professional career in care management serving older adults comes from a deep understanding that in every stage of life we need an ally, an advocate, someone who will be an objective presence when times call for support...
Empowering Your Late Life Journey
Are you prepared....
In the event of a serious illness or accident?
In the face of a terminal diagnosis?
My experience has taught me that preparing for difficult circumstances is one of the gifts you give to yourself and to others in your life. In one's life, we typically prepare for events on a welcoming basis: choosing a college, navigating a career, planning a wedding. Yet, death is a very significant event but most of us don't give much thought to preparing for it. And... there is alot to plan for.
When dying or going through treatment for illness, this is not an ideal time to begin checking if all one's affairs are in order. It is best to start doing this before so that when you or someone you love is ill or dying, the time can be spent being together in ways that provide support and comfort. Maybe there are things in your life that want some sort of closure. Maybe there are things you want to say to others in person or in writing. It can be a time to think about what you want to leave behind: Not some thing, but a part of your character, your stories. You are writing your legacy every day. What might you want to share at the end, if anything?
It is my mission to be an ally who will learn and embrace your values, and listen deeply to who you are, what you want, and be your advocate.
There are three main areas of services I provide:
Certified Advanced Steps® ACP Facilitator
Research shows that advance directives can make a difference, and that people who document their preferences in this way are more likely to get the care they prefer at the end of life than people who do not.
In considering treatment decisions, your personal values are key. Is your main desire to have the most days of life? Or, would your focus be on quality of life, as you see it? What if an illness leaves you paralyzed or in a permanent coma and you need to be on a ventilator? Would you want that?
Navigating the U.S. healthcare system can be scary and confusing. You may ask yourself, “Am I getting the best care for my current medical need?”, “Should I get a second opinion?” or "What should I do at my age and how do I know what the options are to make an informed decision?"
At times like these, you could use an ally — someone to support you through your healthcare journey. That is what a “patient advocate" does.
No matter where you’re at in your life, you can understand the struggle that comes with accepting your own mortality and creating a realistic plan for the end, whenever that may be.
As a Death Doula; End of Life Guide, I assist individuals when extra support is needed especially after a diagnosis, terminal or non-terminal. As a compassionate ally, I will assist you and your family to navigate decisions; to offer a compassionate presence, and to hold and support the changes that take place under the circumstances.