Dealing with end-of-life concerns can be a complex and emotionally draining process, leading many people to avoid making important decisions about how to handle their issues. While it may be uncomfortable for you to address, it is important for you to spend the time that you need to think about what you would like to occur during your final days. If you have an elderly loved one who has not made these important decisions, working with a professional at Elder Care Direction may help to facilitate the process. Here are some documents that you might need to make everything easier at the end of your life or that of your loved one.
A living will is a legal document that tells others what they should and should not do if you are unable to make those decisions because of incapacitation such as from a debilitating injury accident or a serious mental decline. Some of the basic topics that your living will should address include the following:
- Whether you want to receive life-prolonging medical treatment at the end of life
- Do not resuscitate directives that tell whether or not you want to be resuscitated
- Whether you want to receive life-prolonging food and water if you are in a coma and the timelines for when to stop providing it
- Whether you want pain management
Health care power of attorney
If you are incapacitated and unable to make important decisions about your health care, having a durable power of attorney in place through which you designate a trusted family member or friend to make the decisions for you can be important. The person who you give the durable power of attorney might have the following decision-making powers in the event of your incapacitation:
- The power to choose your treating medical facility
- The power to give or deny consent for medical treatments
- The power to choose your doctors and medical staff
- The power to litigate in court about your receipt of or the withholding of medical treatment
- The power to decide how to handle your body after death
- The power to access your medical records
- The power to determine visitation
You can limit these powers by addressing some of them in your living will if you have strong feelings. Your living will always supersedes the powers that are granted in your health care power of attorney. You are able to grant complete authority to your designee over all decisions or limit them. It is better to be broad in your health care power of attorney and provide specific limitations in your living will, though. This can ensure that your designee will be able to make decisions in situations that you might not have foreseen.
Contact Elder Care Direction
Dealing with end-of-life issues can be difficult. By making certain that you think through what you would like to happen and drafting a living will and a health care power of attorney, you can take steps to make certain that your wishes are followed. The professionals at Elder Care Direction can help you to figure out exactly what you might want. We can refer you to one of our attorney partners for help with drafting the relevant legal documents. To learn more, fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.