Thinking about a possible future when you might be unable to have a say in your care isn’t pleasant. However, it’s something that all of us should be prepared to do. You might not want to plan for
becoming ill or disabled, and that might not happen. But one thing that’s going to happen to all of us is getting old. Many people reach a stage when they don’t have the capacity to have any input in their care. The thought of this is worrying for a lot of people, and understandably so. Fortunately, you don’t have to leave your fate in other people’s hands. There are precautions you can take to ensure you get your wishes, but you need to do everything in advance. Read on to find out how you can get your affairs in order.
Your Advance Directive Options
One of the main things people worry about is how they will receive care if they need it. You might be thinking that you don’t want to end up in a nursing home, for example. If you have specific ideas about the care you wish to receive, you need an advance directive. An advance directive lets you make arrangements for your care if you’re too ill to make them in the future. You can use it to specify the type of care you want to receive or to appoint someone to make decisions. There are two ways of putting one in place. The first in a living will, which you can use to say what care you want, or what you don’t want. The other option is a durable power of attorney for health care. This allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Appointing Someone for Legal Matters
As well as your medical care, you might also need someone to manage your legal affairs. These could include a number of issues, from managing debts and finances to property. Again, there are two options to appoint someone to handle these matters. The first is a general power of attorney, which allows someone to act on your behalf. But it only lasts while you’re able to make your own decisions. The second option is a durable power of attorney. It stays in place if you can no longer make decisions for yourself. It’s different to a durable power of attorney for health care, which is limited to medical decisions.
Putting Together a Living Will
If you decide you want to create a living will, it’s a good idea to consult a lawyer. You might wish to begin by finding a template for a living will. It will help you think about what you need to put in it and the decisions you need to make. You can include what sort of care and medical treatment you want to receive. You might also lay out your wishes for resuscitation or how you do or don’t want to be kept alive in some situations. For example, you might wish to say whether you want to be given food and water or kept on life support if you’re in a coma. You need to appoint someone as an agent to carry out your wishes. They won’t make decisions for you, but they will ensure you get what you ask for.
Arranging Power of Attorney
Many people decide to put together a living will and arrange power of attorney too. You can’t list your wishes for every possible situation that could occur. You can do your best to cover as much as possible, but you can’t play for everything. It’s always best to give someone power of attorney just in case. It also makes it easier to make things happen, even when you’re able to make decisions for yourself. Allowing someone to act on your behalf means you won’t have to waste your energy when you might not be at your best. You can contact a lawyer if you want to make arrangements. However, it’s also possible to do it yourself by getting the forms from your local government or online. Of course, you need to discuss the issue with the person you want to give power of attorney.
Considering Your Care Options
If you want to set out your wishes for your care in the future, you need to decide what they are first. You should spend plenty of time considering your options and which ones are best for you. There are several things to take into account, from your finances to where you want to live. You might decide that you want to stay in your home for as long as possible or that you want to go to a hospital if you need to be. Start by researching the pros and cons of different options. Using home care services could help you to remain independent for longer. Living in an assisted living facility provides you with a community and dedicated staff at all times. A nursing home can sometimes be the smarter option if you need 24/7 care.
Organizing Your Important Papers
Once you have all your affairs in order, you should put your important papers somewhere safe. These include all your legal documents and personal and financial records. You should gather them all up and put them all in a file, desk or drawer. Some people choose to keep original documents in a safety deposit box. If you do this, make sure you keep copies at home. Don’t forget to tell someone else where you put everything.
Talking to Your Family
Even if you get everything down in writing, it’s important to discuss your wishes too. Talking about what you want will help your family and friends understand your reasoning. Of course, they don’t have to know that to carry out your wishes. But it can make it easier for them to come to terms with what you want and respect your wishes. Make sure that when you appoint an agent for your living will or give someone power of attorney that you can trust them.
It’s up to you to take control if you want to be in charge of your care. Making arrangements in advance is the best way to make sure you get what you want.