Three things should be done when planning for your future:
1. Establish Durable Powers of Attorney for both healthcare and financial matters.
The Durable Power of Attorney is a person you would trust to carry out your medical and/or financial wishes if you are unable to speak for yourself. Ideally, this person will work with you, your physician and your attorney at the beginning of this process to establish a plan of care, both financially and medically, that you would like to have followed later on down the road when/if you become unable to make your wishes known. Obviously, you must choose someone you have total trust and confidence in.
- Establish Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) for health care. This is the person who will ultimately make your medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so it is the responsibility of your DPOA to authorize necessary medications and treatment for you. The DPOA must be a person that you trust to carry out your wishes if you are unable to speak for yourself. That person will work with your physician to establish a plan of care that you would like to have followed. This plan may include “pulling the plug” if the medical team agrees there is a complete and irreversible loss of brain function.
- Establish Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters. This is the person who will make your financial decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so. For example, if you find yourself suddenly hospitalized, your financial responsibilities, such as paying bills, will be taken care of by your DPOA who has been authorized to use your funds from your bank account to keep your affairs running while you’re away.
2. Fill out a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) form that establishes your medical wishes.
This is also called a POLST (Physicians’ Order for Life Sustaining Treatment). It should be kept in a place where it can be easily found (i.e. taped to the side of the refrigerator). It is an instant go-to form that the health care team refers to in an emergency if a DPOA is not present or available.
3. Create a Will or a Trust to provide direction as to the disposition and disbursement of your belongings.
One of the hardest parts for me was deciding what to do with our belongings. When my husband and I finally got around to seeing an attorney about our Trust, we felt a great sense of relief. But we also felt very depressed after we signed all the forms. These feelings, though unexpected, were only natural – we were finally looking at our own mortality and the fact that we would not be around forever. It dawned on us that other people would eventually get our things.
Our personal possessions hold cherished memories and we knew that those memories, though important to us, would likely be lost once we were gone. I admit, having the Trust drawn up was difficult for me, but I’ve come to look at it as insurance and now that we have it, I can be confident that I, my family and even my belongings will be taken care in the manner which I have chosen.
Life is a gift and each of us must put some effort into being happy and staying engaged. The quality of our lives is directly connected to what we do for ourselves. Exercise, a good diet and staying engaged should be our mantra throughout our lifetime. These lifestyle choices allow us to continue to be interested in the world around us and keeps us young in spirit, if not in body. It’s easy to get into a rut, to stay in our “comfort zone”. Finding new things to do, even making new friends, can pay high dividends in terms of quality of life.
We at Home Health Care Inc. will be glad to do a complimentary home evaluation to help with decisions concerning the need for Home Care for you or your loved one.