You may not be thinking of legal issues right now, especially if you loved one has just been diagnosed with a serious illness and you feel like you’re scrambling around to figure out how to arrange caregiving. Some people don’t think of the necessity of caregiving until their loved one is ready to be released from hospital and they suddenly realize their loved one can’t manage on their own.
A home care provider can come right into the home and give your loved one the expert care they need at this time. You wouldn’t have to worry about anything and your parent can continue to live in their own home where they feel the most comfortable.
The reason legal issues usually catch people off guard is because we get comfortable in present circumstances; we don’t want to think about change. This is especially true when it involves the declining health of one or both of our parents. If you feel like you’re groping in the dark when it comes to legal matters, it’s probably best to check with your attorney.
Basically, the terms you will hear the most are: Power of attorney (POA), Durable power of attorney for health care (may be referred to as health care proxy), living will, living trust and will. Each of these will be summarized in the list below. Remember these definitions are for the purposes of an overview only:
Power of Attorney – your parent authorizes you to make legal decisions on his or her behalf when he or she can no longer do so. The authority will be spelled out in exacting terms in the document. They are not all the same.
Durable power of attorney for health care – this would allow you to make all health care decisions including who the health care provider would be, types of medical treatments, and end-of-life decisions if it comes to that point. This document is activated by your parent’s physician when it is deemed your parent can no longer make their own health care decisions. (All details must be drawn up and signed in advance before the doctor can activate it.)
Living will – your parent can document in advance what extent of medical care they want to receive or be withheld (for example life support.) With a living will, they can make their own wishes known before they reach the point of the inability to decide.
Living trust – the parent can create a trust and appoint someone to be the trustee. The trustee manages assets when the parent can no longer do so.
Will – created by your parent; it names an executor who will manage their estate and any beneficiaries involved (people who will receive portions of the estate.)
If you have a loved one who could benefit from the help of caregivers in Webster, NY contact the caregivers at Caring Hearts of Rochester, LLC. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (585) 245-0134 for more information.
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