A tennis coach will help you fix your serve, they’ll force you to practice your backhand, and they’ll make you do speed drills. They’ll help you cultivate the skills you need to elevate your game.
Similarly, an Aging & Illness coach helps you develop the skills you need to navigate the medical system. That way you’ll feel equipped to adapt and live fully as your health changes.
Read on and we’ll answer the 6 most common questions about Aging and Illness coaching!
1. What is Aging & Illness Coaching?
Whether you’re healthy and aging, a caregiver, or living with illness, Aging & Illness coaching is about personalizing your healthcare. You’ll work with a coach to help you figure out what matters most to you, develop a framework to approach medical decisions, create a personalized advance care plan, learn about other supportive resources, and communicate your wishes with loved ones and your medical team.
We also know that it can be stressful to navigate the healthcare system, so we’re here to support you, emotionally and spiritually, so that you don’t have to worry alone.
Importantly, it’s not prescriptive, we don’t tell you what to do. Instead, we empower you to enter the healthcare system with direction so you don’t get lost in it!
2. What can you expect from Aging & Illness coaching sessions?
Personalized care! Your coach can meet you wherever you are in your health or in caring for a loved one.
Your Aging & Illness Coach will help you:
- figure out your values and goals for your medical care
- align your medical care with your values
- personalize your advance care planning documents
- think through medical decisions
- get support – emotionally, spiritually, in grief, and in bereavement
- share your wishes with your healthcare team and loved ones
3. Who’s it for?
Aging & Illness coaching is for anyone who’s aging (aren’t we all?), living with illness, or a caregiver. Through our virtual coaching sessions, we can help people located anywhere in the 50 US states!
If you’re healthy and aging, we’ll help you think about planning for your future health so that your partner and your kids will know what you want. If you’re living with an illness, we can help you live well with illness. This means helping you cope, adapt, and make space for both grief and joy. If you’re a caregiver we’ll help you better care for your loved one, and yourself!
4. What’s so amazing about Aging & Illness Coaching?
Have you ever had a rushed 15 minute medical appointment with a clinician you’ve never met before, and then left the appointment thinking “they didn’t really listen to me” or “I’m confused – what do I do next?” or “what’s the right decision for me?”
Aging & Illness coaching is about making sure you are at the center of your healthcare. Coaching is virtual from the comfort of your home, our sessions are not rushed, and you see your coach every time. Better yet, our coaches will listen to you, help you think through the kind of medical care that makes sense for you, anticipate the medical decisions that you may face, and promote your emotional and spiritual well-being.
Our coaches have more than 50+ years of combined experience within the healthcare system. This means we know the type of medical care that’s available and we’ll use our experience to empower you to better navigate the healthcare system.
5. How’s it different from traditional medical care?
Aging & Illness coaching is not medical care or psychotherapy. We don’t work up symptoms, write a prescription, or make a diagnosis.
Our focus is on you – understanding who you are, what’s important to you, and what you’re hoping to get out of your medical care. We’ll help you develop the tools and skills you need to navigate a fragmented healthcare system and actually get personalized healthcare.
6. How did EpioneMD’s Aging & Illness Coaching start?
Aging & Illness coaching is rooted in palliative care, a person-centered medical specialty that also supports caregivers. All our coaches are palliative care trained, meaning we’re uniquely able to care for anyone navigating the uncertainty of aging, illness, and caregiving.
Palliative care is a holistic approach to helping people live well through illness and is typically provided together with life prolonging and curative treatment. It helps people live longer, live better, and most people that receive it will recommend it to others. Palliative care is different from hospice care – hospice care is provided in the last couple months of someone’s life, when they’re typically not getting life prolonging treatments while palliative care can and should be provided early in the illness. .
We created Aging & Illness Coaching as a way to bring the benefits of a holistic, person-focused approach to more people. We do this by elevating the skills you need to navigate the healthcare system, so you can live better now!
Now your turn
In the comments below, let me know:
1. What’s your biggest take away from this post?
2. What question do you have about Aging & Illness Coaching?
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Navigate Aging & Illness Confidently
Want to develop the skills to navigate the healthcare system with confidence? Sign up for Aging & Illness Coaching!
Caitlin Baran M.D. is a Palliative Care physician and Coach with EpioneMD. She completed completed her fellowship in Hospice & Palliative Medicine at the Harvard Interprofessional Palliative Care program. She has worked at academic centers including Massachusetts General Hospital and was an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Caitlin is dedicated to understanding who people are and aligning healthcare choices with their values.