Five Legal Documents You Need for Your Parent in Senior Care

If you have a parent in senior care, you are preparing to enroll a parent in senior care services, then it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with several legal documents as part of your preparation. The legal documents we have outlined below are essential for anyone with a parent in senior care.

Advanced Directive

This is one of the most important items for your senior to have in order. Advanced directives are a collection of documents detailing specific instructions and preferences your senior has stated regarding medical treatments and comfort during their end of life care. Advanced directives are particularly important to establish in the event that your senior is unable to communicate later in life.

Living Will

Living wills are a specific and prominent part of an advanced directive. This is the document that outlines your senior’s wishes for their end of life care. A living will also serve to inform physicians and healthcare providers about your senior’s wishes if they are being carried out by a healthcare proxy (view more information about healthcare proxies below).

DNR & DNI

DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate) and DNIs (Do Not Intubate) are sensitive topics, but they are two incredibly important documents. They define your senior’s preferences in regard to resuscitation and intubation, which are both used to save and maintain life. A DNR order states that your senior does not want CPR, chest compressions, or the use of a defibrillator to keep them alive. A DNI order states that your senior does not want a breathing tube inserted to keep them alive.

Power of Attorney

Your senior can put two types of power of attorney in place: durable and healthcare/healthcare proxy. First, a durable power of attorney allows another person the legal right to oversee all matters on behalf of another person, including matters related to real estate, finance, banking, government benefits, and medical. Second, your senior can appoint a healthcare power of attorney, or a healthcare proxy, to make sure their end of life care wishes are honored if they cannot speak for themselves.

Will and/or Trust

These are two different legal documents that pertain to the disposition of property and possessions. To establish a will or a trust, we recommend that your senior consult with an attorney.

If you would like further help understanding these documents or enrolling your senior into senior care services, please call Home Care Assistance to schedule your consultation!

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How to Plan for End of Life Care

Talking about how to plan for end of life care can be very difficult – we understand. But doing so will help give peace of mind, not only to you, but to your senior and family too. Even though this is a sensitive topic, talking with your senior to plan out end of life care options is the best way to honor your senior’s wishes when and if a time comes when they are no longer able to communicate their wants and needs. To ensure your senior’s satisfaction and dignity, end of life care planning is an important step to take.

Talk About It

One of the best things you can do to start end of life care planning is to just begin talking about it with your senior. This can be hard sometimes because we naturally do not want to think about death or dying. Yet having these discussions now will help eliminate any issues later on if your senior cannot speak for themselves. If and when this time does approach, you and your family can focus on spending quality time with your senior rather than having the burden of planning weighing you down.

Put Everything in Writing

Having an advanced directive and living will can help to make the difficult healthcare choices that can come with end of life care. Advanced directives give healthcare providers the details regarding the care your senior wants, if they are unable to convey what they want at this time. A living will is just one part of an advanced directive, and it will help define your senior’s wishes about medical treatment and what should or should not be done. Have this conversation with your senior. It will allow them to express their wishes now, which will greatly improve the quality of their end of life care. It is best to consult with a lawyer when setting up an advanced directive.

Don’t Wait

It is easy to put off the task of end of life care planning because we don’t like to think about death, and sometimes we may feel we are immune. Research even says that 54% of seniors in North America delay planning because they feel they are in good health, and another 48% say they simply trust their family members to handle their arrangements. But don’t wait too long to start planning. By having this conversation now, both family members and caregivers (for seniors who receive in home care) will be able to organize end of life care more effectively.

We understand that end of life care is hard to talk about. If Home Care Assistance can help you or your family in any way, please call us for a consultation.