Council on Aging Answers 2017 - 22

HEALTHCARE

COUNCIL ON AGING - SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

n Personal Property Inventory and Pictures
n Information Regarding Pets (medical records, licensing paperwork, etc.)
n A contact list of family members and friends who
should be notified of your incapacitation or death

Advance Healthcare Directive
Every adult, of any age, should have an Advance
Healthcare Directive. Waiting for a crisis or until the
end-of-life is not the best time to create one. We may
only be temporarily unable to make medical decisions;
however, as we age and our health declines, almost all of
us will need someone else to make medical decisions for
us. The directive will include the following:
n Your "health care agents," first and second choices.
This person (s) will make healthcare decisions for
you when you can't. This may be a temporary or a
permanent circumstance.
n Choose someone you know well and trust, someone
who will honor your wishes. This may or may not be
your spouse, partner, or other family member.
n Choose people who live near you, so they are readily
available to help.
n Talk about your wishes with your agents and be sure
to give them a copy of your directive once completed.
n Your directive will cover your wishes about comfort
care, certain health care scenarios, and your wishes
for life support, how you wish to be treated, and other
important information that you want people to know.
n Obtain the document "Five Wishes" online which is
very user-friendly and can be found at: www.agingwithdignity.org. Hospitals and doctor's offices also
make Advance Health Care Directives available.

Prepare - If you haven't already, begin thinking
today about what's important to you in regard to
health and end-of-life issues. Think about whom
it is that you most trust to handle your affairs. You
do not need to name the same person on all documents.
Plan - Take an inventory of your debts and assets.
Purchase that three-ring binder and begin organizing your documents, lists, and records. Tell your
agent where it is located.
Peace of Mind - Relax, knowing that you have
taken care of some of the most important decisions
you will ever make. Take comfort in knowing that
you have made things much easier for those you
care about and who care about you.
tain accurate records, keep your property separate from
his or hers, and avoid conflicts of interest. As long as you
are mentally competent, you can revoke a durable power
of attorney at any time. It ends with your death.

What Can You Do To Suggest a Plan is Necessary?
n Show your loved ones an article about planning, such
as this one.
n Inform them that you are in the process of preparing
your plan and wonder if they have done the same.
You may want to offer them assistance and support.
n Communicate your commitment to understanding
their wishes, advocating for and honoring them, and
the importance of having legal documents in place so
you may carry those wishes out.
n
Diplomatically advocate for yourself in wanting to be
Power of Attorney for Finances
properly informed.
A durable power of attorney for finances - or finann If they created a plan many years ago, remind them
cial power of attorney - is a simple, inexpensive, and
of the importance of updating the plan, as the roles
reliable way to arrange for someone to manage your
of family members and friends often change.
finances if you become incapacitated (unable to make
n As we age, and potentially face a dramatic health dedecisions for yourself).
cline, our decisions about medical care often change,
People often give their agent broad power to handle
as well. It is important to create a new or updated
their finances. But you can give your agent as much or
directive to reflect these changes.
as little power as you wish. Some banks and brokerage
Karen
Fazio is an Aging Services Educator, Consulcompanies have their own durable power of attorney
tant, Advocate, and Author of Care, Grieve, Grow, Carforms or you can obtain them on your own. Many exing For Your Aging Parents While Caring For Yourself.
perts recommend that you have an attorney create this
For additional information visit:
document for you. You will need to have it notarized.
Your agent is required to act in your best interests, main- www.helpingyouragingparents.com.
22

Answers Guide 2017	

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http://www.agingwithdignity.org http://www.agingwithdignity.org http://www.helpingyouragingparents.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Council on Aging Answers 2017

Contents
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Intro
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover1
Council on Aging Answers 2017 - Cover2
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