The Living Values and Choices Care Planning Process©

A unique way to determine your care preferences and ensure your wishes are followed

This proprietary Living Values and Choices Care Planning Process was created with approaches from clinical research and evidence based practices. It is also informed by years of experience working with hundreds of older adults and their partners, families, and care providers.

Evidence-based, clinically researched, proven approach

     Researchers at the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and Penn State University developed a care planning facilitation process called SHARE (Supporting Health, Activities, Resources and Education) to help family caregivers and people with early-stage dementia to prepare for changes that lie ahead.  Their seven-session program addressed stress risk factors by improving communication between the care partners, building skills and resources and enhancing feelings of self-efficacy. 

   Clinical trials showed this process increased both care partners’ knowledge of dementia, improved communication skills and support between partners, and increased understanding of each person’s care values and preferences.

The ACCS customized process

   In February 2016 at a local Alzheimer’s Association seminar, Dr Carol J. Whitlatch PhD, a lead researcher behind SHARE, presented the process development and results of clinical research trials.  Dr Whitlatch gave permission for other professionals to adapt their approach for their own clinical work. ACCS has adapted certain approaches of the SHARE process, but not their terminology or materials.  

   Building on ideas regarding patient-centered care, patient engagement, healthcare advocacy, health literacy, family systems therapy, and other schools of thought, ACCS developed proprietary decision support tools to help partners determine their specific choices.  Approaches from other care planning methods were combined with years of experience with many clients and distilled into this "best practices" based process.

Useful for any care situation

   The Living Values and Choices Care Planning Process© can be used by spouses/partners, with aging parents and their adult children, or any type of care partner relationship.  It can also be used to plan for care related to dementia or any other chronic condition.

How it works

Typically the process involves 6 meetings:   

  1. Introductory joint meeting with both care partners (person who is or will be receiving care, and their primary care giver)
  2. Separate discussions with care partners around values and choices
  3. Joint meeting to review values and choices and to plan care
  4. Joint or separate discussions around caring for the self and each other
  5. Group meeting with family, friends, and/or others who will be involved with or supporting the care process
  6. Joint meeting to finalize the care plan and review documentation. 

Advantages to the ACCS approach

Benefits to the “care receiver”

  • Have space to discuss their concerns and identify their preferences in a supported process. 
  • Actively participate in planning their own care according to their own values and choices. 
  • Address concerns about being a burden on partner/family.  

Yes, people with dementia can

and should, participate in planning their care:  

"Nothing about us without us."




Benefits to the “care giver”

  • Gain a better understanding of what the care receiver wants now as well as in the future.
  • Learn about and plan for future needs and contingencies.
  • Reduce stress, which hugely impacts the caregiver’s own health, as well as the partner relationship.
  • Learn about community resources and services for future needs.


Benefits to both partners

  • The partner relationship is crucial for the care and well-being of the person who will be or is receiving care.  
  • Partners work together and become more comfortable discussing sensitive topics. 
  • Research shows that both caregivers and care receivers put the other person before themselves about 90% of the time. This care planning process validates the importance of everyone taking care of themselves as well as each other, and mapping tasks out helps visualize the burden carried by each person. 
  • Research also shows both partners benefit from reduced stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. 




Why work in partnership?

“Even with memory loss, I can…” 


  • People with memory loss still have the ability and right to decide and express their values and preferences around care.  
  • In early to moderate stages of dementia, people provide reliable answers about what are their values and preferences around care.
  • Caregivers are not accurate in estimating what the care receiver wants.  And this worsens over time: their perceptions become further and further apart from what the care receiver actually wants. 
  • Writing things down and reviewing notes frequently helps the person with memory loss as well as their care partners. 



How ACCS provides value

Creating opportunity for deeper communication

  • Support each partner to express their hopes, concerns, and viewpoints.
  • Help families communicate more effectively.
  • Provide space and validation of families’ feelings and experiences.
  • Remain objective and ensure all views are stated and shared. 
  • Ensure meetings are positive, and support each person. 


“It’s not therapy, but it can be therapeutic” 




Facilitating discussions

  • Develop a supportive relationship to assist connecting with resources.
  • Support resolution of sensitive issues, misunderstandings, disagreements.
  • Use care planning framework as a road-map to guide decision making.
  • Encourage creative thinking and challenge existing ideas. 
  • Guide families toward realistic decisions that work for all involved. 




Providing specialized expertise

  • Experience in diagnosing dementia and other mental health issues.
  • Expertise in care for dementia and other chronic conditions.
  • Knowledge of service providers and community resources.  



For more information, email 

or call Karin at 206-999-5934.