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!