Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Advanced Directives

As your senior loved one grows older, it will become increasingly important to understand what they would like in terms of end-of-life care. Though this may be a difficult topic to talk about, senior care and advance directives are important subjects, as they allow you to know and, eventually, follow through with the wishes of your elderly loved one.

Take, for example, Barry and his father. Barry lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he helps provide home care to his father, Jim.  Jim is not very outspoken about his health, which is in decline, but Barry knows that he needs to speak with his father about his wishes soon. In doing so, he knows that the advance directives he receives will help him make decisions should his father become unable to make them on his own.

Advance directives can be given in several different forms, from legal papers to verbal communication; however, ensuring that all advance directives are on paper and, better yet, prepared by a lawyer will assist in future medical care if necessary. By drafting a living will and giving durable power of attorney to Barry, Jim is able to not only put his advance directives on paper, but ensure that his son has the legal ability to follow through with them.

The issues addressed by advance directives are many, and may include:

  • Organ donation
  • Life support
  • Resuscitation

Making medical decisions for elderly loved ones is one of the more difficult aspects of senior care. The use of advance directives, including a living will and durable power of attorney, can make this process much less stressful while keeping it in line with seniors' wishes. As such, it allows both families and their elderly loved ones to face medical challenges without the worry of who will make decisions and, when the time comes, how these decisions will be made.

After visiting the lawyer and setting up his advance directives, Jim is confident that his son will be able to continue to confidently care for him—even if he faces medical challenges. Barry appreciates that his father has taken the time to guide him through this difficult process, should it ever arise.

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