With National Elder Law month fast approaching, (it’s May, who knew?) elder law attorneys view being elder-proofed as having legal documents such as living wills, do not resuscitate orders (DNR), durable powers of attorney for healthcare and finances, and trust with a pour over will.
But there's an area of planning that isn't given much attention. That is the day-to-day decision-making to ensure the desires of the senior are followed once they are unable to make those decisions known. It's important to write an eldercare plan to document his or her expressed wishes formally, so that they can have a say in how they will be cared for as they get older.
It's very important for seniors and their loved ones to discuss a care plan for the future before disease or dementia come into play, or a crisis causes eldercare services to become urgently needed. Get the plan drafted while the senior is still fully cognizant and rational. They can be signed when other end-of-life documents are put in place.
In truth, everyone wins with early discussions. When the patient is involved in the decisions for his or her potential care, the family has a better understanding of their preferences and are more prepared for any tough questions. A good eldercare plan designates the roles and responsibilities for the care of the senior to specific individuals in writing. In addition, healthcare preferences and treatments can be detailed.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, families should begin their elder and estate planning soon after the diagnosis, so that the patient can be an active participant. As part of your end-of-life documents make sure your elder law attorney drafts a health care proxy so that your loved one can designate a trust person to make decisions if he or she become incapacitated.
Start the eldercare plan process with a meeting with all of the family and important loved ones, friends, and even good neighbors. In addition, speak with an experienced elder law attorney so that nothing is left to chance. We can help you with that, contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation or register online for a complimentary workshop on this topic.
Reference: Huffington Post (March 30, 2016) "Writing an Eldercare Plan"