Michelle has a dilemma.
Her father, Paul, has Alzheimer’s disease. He can’t swallow. He can’t walk, bathe, or dress by himself. He’s lost 45 pounds. And – most important – he can no longer speak. These symptoms usually indicate the end stage of the disease.
Paul’s doctor wants to insert a feeding tube to keep him alive. But Michelle isn’t sure. While Paul was in the early stages of dementia, he executed a power of attorney for health-care decisions, naming Michelle as his agent. The two of them, however, never discussed what should be done if Paul could only be kept alive by machines. As a result, Michelle doesn’t know what to do.
End-of-life decisions are always traumatic. But if Paul had discussed his last wishes with Michelle, and had executed an advance directive, she would know the right decision.
And that’s why we all need a living will… so our family doesn’t have to guess what we’d want.
A living will allows you to specify your wishes about life-support in case of a terminal illness. And it takes effect only if you become terminally-ill, and can’t communicate your own wishes.
No one likes thinking about these things, of course.
However, by making these decisions now, you’re sparing your family an agonizing decision that may still haunt them long after you’re gone.
You can also include your guidelines for what would constitute a minimally-acceptable quality of life. The specific circumstances in which you’d want – and not want – life support. Whether you’d want food/water through artificial means. How your pain should be addressed. Your wishes about organ or tissue donation. And you can also leave final messages for your dear ones.
You might also include the powers of your agent, among them…
- Choosing medical care/services
- Interpreting your written (or verbal) instructions
- Arranging admission to a hospital, hospice, or nursing home
- Taking any legal action needed to carry out your wishes
- Applying for Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits or other programs or insurance benefits for you
At the Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’re Elder Care Attorneys. And we’ve been creating customized Living Wills for South Floridians for the last 33 years… along with comprehensive estate plans, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care plans, asset preservation plans, and assistance with Medicaid and the VA. And we’ve guided thousands of families through the Elder Care Journey.
We can be your guide. And we’re just a phone call away.
Using Life-Support And The Living Will