Sometimes referred to as a health care declaration or directive, a living will is a document meant to clearly spell out your loved one’s wishes if he or she is unable to make immediate care decisions or speak for him or herself. While it may not be the most pleasant conversation you’ll have with your elderly loved one, creating a living will can provide some much-appreciated peace of mind later.
While you can work with a lawyer to draw up a living will for your loved one, it’s not a requirement. You can get the form you need from your loved one’s doctor, local hospitals, senior centers or your state’s medical association. Some Columbus home care agencies recommend using software such as Quicken WillMaker Plus to create a living will with your loved one.
What to Include
Anything related to your loved one’s medical care can be included in a living will. In some states, a living will is combined with a power of attorney (for the purpose of signing any required documentation on your loved one’s behalf) as an advanced directive. Typically, a living will includes instructions regarding:
• IV care (whether or not to receive intravenous food and water or drugs)
• Life-prolonging treatments (transfusions, respirator/ventilator care, surgical procedures, medications beyond what’s needed for comfort, diagnostic tests)
• What decisions a designated live-in or hourly caregiver or family member can make (if any)
• Preferred end-of-life care (when conditions become terminal or when your loved one refuses to consider any further treatment)
If you have a loved one with a dementia-related condition like Alzheimer’s, most legal professionals recommend you discuss a living will in the early stages of the disease, if possible, while your loved one can still make informed decisions. Keep in mind that even if your loved one opts for no extraordinary lifesaving measures, he or she will still be kept as comfortable as possible.
For help with senior planning or to learn more about long-term Columbus home care options for a senior loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our experienced Care Managers can walk you through our custom care schedules, answer any questions you may have, and help you get to know our team better. Give us a call at (614) 481-8888 today. We look forward to hearing from you.