Nurse taking care of a senior woman

LEGAL MATTERS – YOUR WISHES FOR LONG TERM CARE

Jason P. Mallory, H.B.A., J.D.

Your Power of Attorney for Personal Care is a very important document regarding your health care in the event that you are not capable of making your own decisions in the future. Most do not realize that you can include specific directions regarding your health care preferences in this Power of Attorney document.Although your substitute decision maker is required to consider the wishes you have communicated to her or him when making decisions on your behalf, I advise clients to consider documenting their wishes in writing in order to be sure that their preferences will be considered.
Consider where you might prefer to live and receive long-term care if necessary. As long as it is financially feasible and safe for you to do so, do you want to remain in your home? Keep in mind the added expense of consistent in-home care. You may consent to this added expense even though it is not the most cost effective living arrangement.
It may be more practical for you to reside in a long-term care facility. This could be in the event of severe physical or mental impairment, or total dependence on others for day-to-day care, or due to financial considerations. In such a situation do you have a preferred care facility, or are you comfortable relying on the decision of your substitute decision maker as to where you will reside and receive care? If you have a preferred facility it may not be the least costly option available; consider including your acknowledgement and consent to this in your Power of Attorney documents. Another possibility is living with a child. You may want to specifically consent to such an arrangement, or refuse your consent to such an arrangement, in your Power of Attorneydocument. An example of when you may specifically refuse such an arrangement is if you believe your child will feel a sense of obligation to personally care for you, but you do not wish to place this responsibility on your child. On the other hand, you may have pre-planned such a living arrangement with a certain child and wish to confirm your intentions in your Power of Attorney for Personal Care. Also consider if your child is to receive any compensation or reimbursement for expenses in such an arrangement.
Often these considerations are not documented in the Power of Attorney for Personal Care. In this case it will be the responsibility of your substitute decision maker to determine a long-term care arrangement that is suitable to your needs and financial situation.

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