As parents grow older, their adult children may have to make some difficult choices and equally difficult discussions about elderly care for their moms and dads. Advanced care planning is a legally complex and emotionally-charged step to ensure safety and security.
The process involves in-depth conversations to determine and implement treatment directives. The process starts with a living will and a health care proxy. The latter step involves a trusted family member making medical decisions, including both emergencies and end-of-life care, when parents can no longer process or communicate their specific needs.
Personalization is paramount
Customizing the plan is of paramount importance when accounting for concerns, personal values, and long-held beliefs, including those that are spiritual. The program should also account for changes in circumstances while maintaining open lines of communication with parents and allow them to make decisions while they are still thinking clearly.
The last thing family members want is conflict over the plan. As it reaches finalization, make sure that family members and other loved ones understand the explicit wishes of parents, not to mention familiarizing themselves with the verbiage in the documents.
These talks are of particular importance for the loved one who serves as the health care proxy to gauge their level of comfort in what could be a difficult duty.
Documents should be easy to access with copies in multiple places, with one designated for the healthcare proxy. The remaining papers should be shared, specifically with other family members, friends, the physician, and an attorney.