Photo (from left to right): Pam Graffagna, sales counselor at Lexington Square Elmhurst, Paul Ninnemann, social worker for Lexington Hospice, and Harriet Goldberg, senior director of strategic growth with Lexington Health Network

The difficulty of a topic sometimes delays a discussion despite its importance.  Such is the case when it comes to talking about advance directives. Lexington Square Senior Living Communities in Elmhurst and Lombard held their monthly Lex and Learn event last week. The topic for June, was advance directives, and older adults and their loved ones were invited to attend.

“We launched our Lex and Learn educational series to share information about topics that are relevant to seniors,” said Dee Novak, senior director of sales and marketing for Lexington Square Senior Living Communities. “With more than 30 years of experience in senior living, we feel honored but also responsible for helping to make sure area seniors have access to important information. Monthly, we have experts in various fields coming to lead these educational seminars.”  

On June 24, Paul Ninnemann, LCSW with Lexington Hospice, talked about the importance of planning ahead through advance directives. “Health care is truly an ever-changing environment, and that’s a good thing. With all the advances that modern medicine provides, it’s a wonderful feeling knowing that we are in good hands with the doctors we go to see. But with that comes what is almost a responsibility, of identifying in our heart of hearts, what do we want, and what are our preferred healthcare choices. And it’s important that our healthcare wishes are in writing,” he said.

Ninnemann talked about four advance directives in Illinois: health care power of attorney, living wills, mental health treatment preference declaration, and practitioner orders for life-sustaining treatments (POLST). He also discussed and distributed to attendees the document entitled Five Wishes Make Your Wishes Known. The publication helps discuss and document individuals’ care and comfort choices and is recognized as a legal directive.

Ninnemann concluded that his goal for the seminar was to “allow everyone to hear more about and think about what their health care decisions should look like. Especially in the aftermath of the hardships of the past 15 months and having lived through this COVID pandemic, it’s a good idea to sit now with loved ones and have these tough conversations. It’s never too early to do so.” 

“We are proud to be a leading provider of independent living, assisted living and memory care for seniors. We also recognize that we are in the position to serve as an important resource for all seniors in the area through our Lex and Learn programs,” said Novak.

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