When you learn that you need long term care, or will need long term care in the future, there are many decisions and considerations that you need to make. Many of these can be incredibly uncomfortable and difficult to think about. However, they are necessities to ensure that you are able to receive the care you need in the setting you choose. There is perhaps no more difficult consideration to make then deciding if you need a Power of Attorney. While this can be a difficult decision, choosing a Power of Attorney may not always come about organically. If you do not think about a power of attorney on your own, your relatives, most notably your children, will start to think about their responsibilities when it comes to making healthcare decisions for you. You may want to save them the angst of thinking about such a decision. If that’s the case, you should start thinking about your Power of Attorney as early as possible.
Children of the elderly are often faced with making some very difficult decisions on behalf of their loved one. This is especially true for those who have parents or grandparents suffering from dementia. Their loved one may forget where they are at times, may forget when to take their medication and in what dose, and may even start to forget their loved ones. With a struggling memory, the elderly can put themselves and others at risk. Once this starts to take place, your loved ones may need to become your Power of Attorney to ensure that you are treated well and are receiving the services and aid that you need on a daily basis.
If you know that you need long term care, and especially if you suffer from conditions that may impair your judgement in the future, it might be wise to start thinking of power of attorney before you lose your mental faculties. This can help eliminate at least some of the pressure placed on your loved ones. If you are able to relay your wishes to your loved ones before your faculties are impaired, your loved ones will be able to follow through on your decisions without having to guess about what you would want. This can make those decisions much easier on the people you love and they will not have to assume what you would want when it comes to your care. No loved one wants to have to make those decisions for you but if you speak with them early enough, it may help ease the anxiety that comes with being a power of attorney.
No relative will enjoy having to make difficult decisions to you, especially if you are experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s. While it is difficult to accept, you may not fully appreciate the extent of your condition and may not even realise that you are no longer able to cope with everyday life and everyday tasks. That being said, the power of attorney placed on your loved one will be an incredibly difficult job for them to fill. They will need to make decisions based on what they think you would want. It will be their responsibility to determine how you are coping with everyday life and if you need additional help. They will also have to think about in which setting you can receive the best care. Many patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s find themselves living full-time in care facilities because they are no longer able to make their own decisions or go about their daily business without significant help. It may rest on your Power of Attorney to determine when best to put you in a care facility.
Choosing a Power of Attorney is just one decision you need to start thinking about should you learn that you need long term care or will need care in the future. No one wants to think about a time at which we will not be able to make our own decisions but if you do come upon that time, you may want to make the decision making process as easy as possible for your loved ones. They may potentially be watching your health deteriorate while also attempting to make decisions that they think will make you happy and comfortable. Letting them know your wishes ahead of time can help to eliminate much of the anxiety they may feel about making big decisions on your behalf. You can always speak with your family ahead of time to determine if a Power of Attorney is the best choice for you. You may also want to speak with an independent adviser who can help to explain all of the pros and cons of choosing a Power of Attorney and what other options may be available to you and your family.