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Understanding Different Advance Directives

By Dian Brannen, 9:00 am on

Living wills and power of attorneys are the most common forms of advance directives that give detailed instructions for medical care in case your elderly loved one is unable to make any decisions when the time comes. Lehigh Valley home care agencies see firsthand how advance directives reduce confusion during an already stressful time, and these orders should be created long before any risk of these situations arise.

Living Will

Living wills cover medical treatments that should or should not be used as well as other circumstances such as organ donation or pain management. A living will should be created after conversations with your loved one’s primary doctor, family, and friends. The living will should cover topics such as:

– Resuscitation
– Dialysis
– Tube feeding
– Antibiotics and antiviral medications
– Mechanical ventilation
– Comfort care
– Donation of the body for scientific research

Power of Attorney

The power of attorney advance directive names a person who will make decisions for your loved one when he or she is unable to do so. Named persons include a family member or friend as well as an alternate in case the named person is unable to do so. A person granted power of attorney should be able to:

– Be trusted to defend your loved one’s wishes in conflicts about care
– Meet the state’s criteria for a health care agent
– Discuss medical care wishes with your loved one frankly and openly

Advance directives may need to be notarized and signed by a witness in some states, and a lawyer can also assist if you feel it necessary. Copies of your loved one’s advance directives should be given to his or her doctor, health care agents, and the original should be kept in a safe place. Your loved one should carry a card in his or her wallet to indicate that he or she has an advance directive, where it can be found, and who the health care agents are.

When making long-term plans, consider asking your loved one how he or she feels about home care. While in-home care my not be necessary in the immediate future, most seniors who age in place will eventually benefit from additional support at home. To learn more about care options near your loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer hourly, live-in, stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s home care in the Lehigh Valley, ensuring seniors have the support they need to remain safe and comfortable at home. Give us a call at 484-350-3874 and speak with a friendly Care Manager today.