Legal Considerations for Seniors & Families Planning for At Home Care
Families can help protect senior loved ones and enjoy time together by making difficult decisions early
No matter what we do, emergency situations will come up. Even the most vigilant among us in every regard will still have emergencies. One of the best ways to prepare for any eventualities is to make sure your loved one is staying safe with proper at home care.
One of the first things you and your loved one should do to prepare is to choose a healthcare proxy. This person will be charged with making decisions on your loved one's behalf if they are incapacitated and are unable to do so themselves. This person must be someone your loved one trusts. It is also a good idea to make sure that this person has similar views as your loved one and your loved one has the confidence that they would make similar choices in emergency situations.
An at home care professional can work with you and your loved one to make sure you are as prepared as possible for any unplanned hospital visits that may come up. The better you and your loved one plan, the smoother everything will go, and your reaction time will be quicker. This will ensure less stress around the whole situation and that your loved one is getting everything they need and recovering as quickly as possible after the fact.
Having a will is also important. The will should take care of dividing up property and final wishes, but it should also include a durable power of attorney for healthcare, finances and HIPAA release. It is important for the will to be on hand and easily accessible to loved ones at all times.
This goes for all important documents. The last thing you or your loved ones at home care professional should be doing in an emergency situation is turning the house over looking for important documents. Gather everything in one place and make sure it is always there.
Some important documents to include in an easy-access file include:
- birth certificate
- social security records
- health and life insurance information, including policy numbers, names and addresses of primary care physician and medical specialists
- medical history
- special arrangements made for health care, including advance directives, funeral prearrangements
- Medicare documents
- trust documents, will
- sources of income and assets
- bank statements and safe deposit box locations
- mortgage papers
- investment records
- military discharge papers
- marriage license and/or divorce papers
Being well-organized and having important discussions with your senior loved one while they are still able to express their opinions is important. However, this may not always be possible. Unexpected medical events such as heart attack or stroke can incapacitate your loved one unexpectedly. Always consult with trusted legal counsel before signing documents or making legal at home care decisions for a loved one.
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