Thursday, April 3, 2014

Key End of Life Planning Issues to Tackle with Seniors

As your senior ages, it’s important to start to tackle end of life planning with them. While the topic may not be a pleasant one to discuss, you want to make sure that you have a strong idea about your elderly loved one’s wishes. In order to cover end of life planning thoroughly, consider approaching the following key issues:

A will

A will dictates how items that your elderly family member values will be distributed when they’re no longer around. This includes money, property, special keepsakes, and even pets. To have a will drawn up, consult with an attorney first. It should be a fairly easy process, but it’s highly important too. 

If you feel uncomfortable approaching the subject, elder care professionals suggest saying: “I don’t want to upset you, but I want to make sure that if something happened to you, your wishes are honored properly. Do you have an updated will?”

Power of attorney

This enables another individual to make legal and financial decisions on behalf of your senior in the event that they become unable to do so on their own. It’s important that this person knows that they’ll hold this responsibility, and that they’re aware of exactly how the elderly individual feels about certain issues. Senior health professionals suggest having a lawyer draw up the power of attorney paperwork. 

Advance healthcare directives

Senior care professionals explain that advance healthcare directives are made up of a living will, a health proxy, a HIPPA release, and other documentation. These items become crucial in the event that your loved one is incapacitated and unable to make decisions on their own. In order to broach this discussion topic, try saying, “If you were to be on life support, I would be devastated and not in the best frame of mind for decision making. I think it would be useful for both of us if you put some of your wishes in writing.”

While it’s not always easy to talk about end of life plans with your elderly parent, doing so ensures that their wishes are honored and that everyone can enjoy some peace of mind. 

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