A living will, or advance healthcare directive, is an essential legal document. If your mom hasn't completed one, talk to her about it. If anything happens to her and she's unable to speak for herself, a living will gives direction to the person she appoints to make medical decisions for her.
With a living will, if your mom is in an accident and slips into a coma, you can make decisions based on her wishes. If she has a stroke and is unconscious, you make medical decisions for her. Some of the common decisions include feeding tubes, ventilators, and do not resuscitate (DNR) orders.
Things Your Mom Should Consider
When deciding on what to include, your mom needs to carefully think about unexpected situations. If she was in a car crash and needed ventilators and feeding tubes to stay alive, what would she really want? Would her surviving family agree or would it lead to a fight that might go to court?
Does her religion or cultural beliefs play a part in any decisions? If so, it's something she should note to make sure family members understand why she's making decisions they may not approve of.
What does your mom think of pain management? If she's unable to speak for herself, would have family know things like an allergy or sensitivity to opioids? Is she a recovering addict who must be careful with prescription pain medications?
If your mom will not survive the medical event, does she want to donate her organs? Does she have requirements regarding organ donations? Some people are reluctant to donate eyes thinking it might alter their appearance during the viewing. Others believe eyes are important in the after-life. These wishes can be covered in the living will.
How Do You Create a Living Will?
Talk to your mom's doctor about living will paperwork. Many medical practices have copies you can fill out and have notarized at a town clerk or medical office. You can print the forms online, but you also need to have it notarized.
Your mom may prefer to go to a lawyer who specializes in elder care law. At the same time the living will is drawn up, your mom may want to also go over her will, medical power of attorney, and financial power of attorney.
Keep copies of the living will with your mom's doctor. The person named to make medical decisions for her should have a copy. Other close family members involved in elder care should have one.
When your mom needs more and more help around the home, elder care services cover the basics like meal preparation, assistance with laundry and housework, transportation, and companionship. You should also make sure the caregiver knows there is a living will. It's important for a caregiver to know who to contact while getting to the hospital.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Apache Junction, AZ, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today: 480-377-6770.