What happens after you die, and end of life care conversations are never fun to have, but they’re very important. It doesn’t matter how old you are – there are certain documents you need to have in place. Without these documents, your family may not carry out your wishes or the situation could cause even more stress for your loved ones during a very difficult time. Planning ahead, you can get the medical care you want and help your loved ones confidently make decisions.
Most people are aware that they need a will but sometimes people forget to draft a living will. A living will is a legal set of instructions regarding how you want to be cared for medically if you cannot make decisions for yourself. Living wills, also known as advanced directives, should include your position on:
Your living will needs to include a medical power of attorney, a person you trust to make your medical decisions if you are unable to make these decisions. This person will carry out your care based on what is included in your living will.
You can’t verbally tell a loved one your end of life wishes, it needs to be in writing. There are free templates available online. The paper should be signed by you, a witness and its helpful to have an attorney sign the paperwork as well. Make several copies and keep them in safe places. Keep one with your other important paperwork and give a copy to your designed medical power of attorney. If your health changes, be sure to update your living will to reflect the changes.
It’s best not to blindside your loved ones with your wishes when the time happens. Have a conversation about what you want, in case they have any questions. This will help them understand certain decisions that they may not agree with.
Midnight Sun Home Care can help you have some of these conversations. We offer Home Care 101, fondly known as "Oh Crap! Mom needs help, now what?" to groups and organizations to help families understand what to do and have in place when the "Oh Crap" moments hit with a senior loved one.