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Often elderly people have difficulty describing what they want to occur at the end of their life. Th e subject is an uncomfortable one. It can stir up fearsome images and feelings of grief. Nonetheless, one of the most important things we can do for those we love who are advancing in years or are terminally ill is to initiate conversations with them to help them clarify their wishes and make formal decisions for the management of their personal care and their financial affairs. Remember to be gentle, respectful and helpful, rather than pushy, when initiating these conversations. After talking matters over with your loved one and giving him or her a chance to reflect, ensure that your loved one’s decisions regarding the management of his or her end-of-life care and financial affairs is set down on paper, in signed legal documents.
These documents will protect your loved one and your family and will ensure that his or her personal choices are honored by doctors, hospitals, family members and the courts. They will prevent lawsuits, and heartache and tragedy, the byproducts of conflict at the end of life and following death.
Have the crucial legal conversations now. Do the paperwork, and then you, your loved one and your family members can go back to….read more
Four main legal documents need to be prepared. The following is a summary. The documents will be discussed in depth later in the chapter.
An advance medical directive, also known as an advance health care directive and a living will. This is a set of instructions given by your loved one specifying what types of medical actions should be taken on his or her behalf in the event that he or she is no longer able to make decisions due to illness or incapacity. For instance, an advance medical directive lets your loved one specify in advance whether or not he or she wants to receive artificial life support, if it should become necessary. Not only does an advance medical directive ensure that your loved one’s wishes will be honored, but it also protects your family from having to make these difficult, deeply personal decisions about your loved one’s care…..more