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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2 - It's hard to know what you don't know!

Today is day 2 (and my 2nd post) in the 30 day blog challenge I joined.  For anyone "just tuning in" this post may leave you wondering what the heck I am rambling about.  I promise it won't take too long to go back and review my first posts so you can catch up with my story.  For anybody thinking there is nothing here that could affect you, I hope you're wrong.  I hope you are wrong because, not because I wish bad things for you, but because that would mean that you are truly alone in life.  You see, although my story revolves around senior care giving and health care, I believe there are lessons within my story that could be applied to ANYBODY that might EVER know someone (or be someone) who is incapacitated, no matter their age.

Hello!  I wasn't sure I would get through day one of the blog challenge and here I am at day 2!

A comment from yesterdays post made me think of something that is EXTREMELY important for your parents and for you (or who ever will ultimately help make those health care decisions).

One of the hardest conversations many of us will ever have will be about what our parents want/need/expect as they age and prepare for the end of their physical life.  Trust me, as hard as it is, it will be much easier if you have the conversation while they are still able to make those decisions.  There are several documents that will make your life much easier if you have them in place BEFORE you need them!

Advance Directive for Health Care -  This may be one of the hardest documents for you to think about, but often it is something that our parents have already decided and I believe that should be honored.

  • Do your parents want to be kept alive by artificial means?
  • Do they want "heroic" efforts made to save their lives (CPR)?  Or do they want to be coded as DO NOT RESUSCITATE (DNR)? I learned in this process that there are different levels that the patient and/or their advocate can choose.  They can be "Limited DNR" also......this is something I did not know and was very important in our case.

They have the forms in the hospital and most doctors office that can just be a "fill in the blank" document (it's not always required, but I think it's a good idea to have it notarized.

Limited Medical Durable Power of Attorney - If your parents are unable to make known what they want, then it will be up to you (or a sibling or other relative).  It's much easier if this form is in your paper work!

General Power of Attorney - You may need to access bank accounts to keep their bills & other expenses taken care of if they are incapacitated.  I would suggest you do not USE this unless/until necessary as I believe that it helps them to keep their minds active & maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible.

Also, know where your parents WILL is!!  and their insurance information! and a host of other things...

My mother had all of these items, but they had not been updated after my step father passed away.  I can tell you that it's not fun to have to call a notary and 2-3 witnesses to the hospital to get all of these items in to place.  It's even more difficult when your parent has gone from driving themselves to dinner one day to not hardly being able to hold a pen 3 days later!

Sit down & talk with your parents; your siblings; & any other close relatives who may be called on for health care decisions and make sure you all know what your parents want - if anybody has questions, comments or concerns it's much easier to work through these things before your parent is ill and you are all running on emotions & adrenaline!

hhhmm, emotions & adrenaline must be for another post!

16 comments:

onepairofshoesatatime said...

I have not only done that with my parents but for myself as well. (well we haven't got the the Enduring Power of Attorny just yet!) I don't want my children to have to worry where everything is. I have also prepared a funeral plan. They don't have to follow it, but if it is easier for them I have provided an outline of the service and arrangements I would prefer.

healthcare hostages said...

Good for you! Mom also has a prepaid funeral arrangement package. I know I need to do some of this stuff for my own kids! YIKES!

Vidya Sury said...

Hi Brenda. This is a very valuable post. It may be tough to have these conversations but not having them can create far more problems. I made the big mistake of never sorting out any paperwork with my Mom even though she was chronically ill for several years. And you know what the irony is? She was the easiest person to talk to, and would have happily cooperated with whatever had to be done. Yet, we didn't. And our reason was - we never expected her to die. She passed away suddenly and later, even closing a bank account took two years - they kept asking all sorts of affidavits and legal stuff.

I feel that we should not wait until old age to make these decisions.

Hugs! Thank you for visiting my post today at http://yourmedguide.com via the UBC challenge.

healthcare hostages said...

Thanks for the valuable feedback! The legal stuff is tough enough without waiting until you are in emotional turmoil!

Bhavya said...

It is scary, but then, these are decisions we have to take at some point in life. Thanks for the timely reminder.

Kalpana Solsi said...

When the old parents are alive its better to talk to them but there's another side to it. Many old parents mistake it and conclude the children do not want them to live. I know of my friend's case.

healthcare hostages said...

Bhavya, yes it is scary and yes they are decisions that will eventually have to be made. Thanks for your comment

healthcare hostages said...

Kalpana Solsi, yes that is true and I think that's why so many of us don't bring it up - we are afraid they will feel that way. I know I was! I'm sorry your friend is experiencing that. Hopefully the parent will come to understand the need and also understand that by having these things in place it will be much easier to enjoy life NOW! Only part of the hurdle is good intentions - knowing your parents and how to present it is very important!

healthcare hostages said...

Kalpana Solsi, yes that is true and I think that's why so many of us don't bring it up - we are afraid they will feel that way. I know I was! I'm sorry your friend is experiencing that. Hopefully the parent will come to understand the need and also understand that by having these things in place it will be much easier to enjoy life NOW! Only part of the hurdle is good intentions - knowing your parents and how to present it is very important!

healthcare hostages said...

Bhavya, yes it is scary and yes they are decisions that will eventually have to be made. Thanks for your comment

Anita Scott said...

Very good information and so helpful for a lot of folks! Thank you!

healthcare hostages said...

:)

Anonymous said...

Please keep in mind though that even though your parents have everything put together doesn't mean that it will take care of itself overnight. It took us 9 years to get the mineral rights transferred from my mother law estate to the right heir even with all the legal papers up above all done. It's quite a pain dealing with companies whom don't want to be cooperative in helping you get what is rightfully yours. There was always, or so it seems like, there were another legal form etc... that you need and it goes on and on and they can't tell you what that legal paper are they are requesting. It gets pretty stupid and headachy trying to finish the estate up. Just glad that it's finally over, but really NINE years to finally figure out the right legal paper to have names changed to the heirs. It was really ridiculous! Sorry, even after all this time, I'm still ranting about how stupid the laws and rules of the companies can be!

healthcare hostages said...

Rant away!! That is what I am doing. I haven't even entered the headache of actually settling the estate......I'm sure that's it's own nightmare! But, thank you for this post! I might start looking at some of that SOONER THAN LATER!

Anonymous said...

Thank u! I appreciate the chance to share some of my grief from past; Both good and bad. :-)

healthcare hostages said...

That's what I am trying to do too! I am really finding it therapeutic to relive and share some of this. Like I said, even if 1 person is saved from some of the pain our family (and obviously yours) have had to endure, it's worth it!