Have you completed your Advance Directives?
What exactly are advance directives? And what do they actually do?
Hello, I’m Barbara Newman Mannix from A Dignified Life. Welcome to this week’s episode of let’s talk about you.
Advance directives are comprised of a power of attorney, healthcare proxy, and a living will. Although they may seem like they overlap or can be combined into one document they represent and accomplish different things.
When executed in the spirit that they are intended, advanced directives are legal documents that define a person’s wishes when they are unable to make legal, financial, and health decisions for themselves. But most importantly these documents represent the wishes of the person they represent, not the person they appoint.
A while back we had a client whose daughter was a long-distance caregiver. Her mother’s case had many critical nuances, we took care of her for years. Including moving her to another state to facilitate a special type of dialysis.
But, when it became time to exercise her mother’s healthcare proxy, the only time she had to adjust to this overwhelming responsibility was the time it took to fly cross country. Arriving from the airport, and leaning to steal a hallway corner, she immediately had to enter into an end of life conversation. But she never actually thought about what it would feel like to exercise this responsibility. Why? Because she and her mother were never on the same page regarding her mother’s wishes. Sick as she had been for years, her mother wanted heroic measures. And now, when her mother could not make her own decisions, it was up to her, “the health care proxy” to either honor those wishes or establish a different peace of mind.
The true tragedy of the situation was not only that her mother passed, but that she had not internalized these hard thoughts. Actually soul-searched. They had never discussed the intimacy of their views to a mutual resolution. Thankfully, we had a gifted medical team who were able to clarify and bring a peaceful and compassionate situation to a courageous and graceful close.
Discussing these necessary documents creates awareness and takes courage. Awareness comes in stages. Hopefully, courage is consistent. Be open, gentle, and persistent. Feel comfort in a unified approach. Seek guidance.
We have created a handout that we give to our clients regarding Advanced Directives. Normally, we only give this out to our clients but I want to offer it to you as well. Just complete the form below to receive a copy.
If you have any questions on how to navigate elder care and end-of-life issues, please give us a call at (914) 475-7225.
Helping you is our pleasure. Helping your parents is our privilege.