Staying In Charge
A Power of Attorney for Health Care (PAHC) is a legal document that allows you to stay in charge of your care by selecting and naming who will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Care decisions include matters like:
Bad news: So many people need assistance. Good news: You can enlist in Senior Corps!
In 2009, President Obama signed the Serve America Act. It assists older adults in sharing their skills, talents and lifetime experiences with members of their communities. Just last year, California’s Senior Corps volunteers:
When family members or close friends die, those experiencing the greatest sense of loss are often the ones who must make funeral and burial arrangements. If decedents not only planned ahead, but also communicated their final wishes to those who care, resulting tasks may be accomplished more efficiently, and the emotional burden lessened.
Respecting decedents' legal rights to decide
Question: Why does grandma’s driver’s license include a pink donor’s dot?
Answer: People filling out the California Department of Motor Vehicles form to renew a driver’s license or identification card must answer this question: “Do you wish to register to be an organ and tissue donor?” Those who check “YES” will automatically become enrolled in the Donate Life California Registry, and a pink “donor” dot will appear on their new driver’s licenses or ID cards.
Health care planning lets you choose the kind of medical care you will – or will not – receive should you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. A power of attorney for health care (PAHC) is a legal document that enables you to designate a health care spokesperson or agent. A properly executed PAHC provides the agent with the legal authority to act as your decision-maker in selecting appropriate treatment options. Physicians, nurses and other health care providers must respect the PAHC agent’s treatment requests.
Being able to handle another person’s financial affairs requires appropriate legal documentation. A durable power of attorney for financial matters (DPAFM) is the legal tool which lets people name who will speak for them should they become incapacitated and unable to speak for themselves. The person who signs the DPAFM is the “principal,” while the person chosen to act on the principal’s behalf is the “agent.”
Because of technological advancements, medical information and records are no longer found solely in the treating doctor’s office, but are often transferred electronically to other treatment providers, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies and government programs. As a result, should incorrect information be included in a specific patient’s file, the consequences may be much more far reaching than ever before.
If you have a medical emergency and become incapacitated or unable to speak for yourself, you will want to make sure that someone else can speak for you. Advance directives are the legal documents that identify the person or persons you have chosen to speak for you should you become incapacitated.
What about planning for aging? To plan for aging, most people have a financial plan on how they will pay their bills. Thats an important start. In addition, each older adult should also put together what we call an Aging Preparedness Kit. Were not talking about batteries or candles. Were talking about tools that can help a person (even an unlucky one) have better control of the future, and obtain results they want.
Your Aging Preparedness Kit should contain the six items we list below.
Hopefully, you'll always be able to handle your own assets and finances. If, however, you became incapacitated, how would your assets and finances be managed? What about your home? Your IRA? Your bank accounts? Depositing your checks? Arranging and paying for home care? Paying your bills? Filing and paying your taxes?