It is often said that with age, you become wiser. While that may be true for some, it isn’t true for all.
As many of us have experienced, perhaps through a grandmother, grandfather, mom, dad or other loved one, aging can have impacts on an individual’s ability to make sound decisions regarding their well-being and health. For most brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and cognitive decline in general, age is one of the biggest factors and contributors.
Aging does not mean the end of life’s pleasures. There are safeguards in place such as a Power of Attorney (POA) for personal care that can help ensure that you or your loved one can enjoy the rest of their days doing the things they love most supported by the best care possible. Let’s break down what a POA for personal care is and what it means for you or your loved ones.
What is a Power of Attorney (POA) for Personal Care?
A Power of Attorney for Personal Care is a legal document giving a person (the agent) the power to act on behalf of another person (the principal) when it comes to personal care decisions.
What power does an agent for a POA for Personal Care have?
When you are a POA for Personal Care, you have the authority to act on behalf of another person regarding decisions relating to their personal care. This can include decisions related to health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene, safety, and other types of personal and non-financial decisions.
When does a person become my POA for Personal Care?
Typically, an agent becomes the acting authority of personal care when or if you were to become mentally incapable of doing so for yourself. As long as you are mentally capable, you can continue to make your own decisions about your personal care and well being.
Why would I need a POA for Personal Care?
While most folks don’t like to think about the effects of aging, oftentimes as we age we can develop conditions that impact our ability to make reasonable, responsible and sound decisions for our personal care. An agent of a POA for Personal Care can be an effective tool to ensure your wishes and values are protected as you near the end of your life.
Is a POA for Personal Care all I need to ensure a pleasant rest of my days?
No. The POA for Personal Care is the tool, not the plan. In addition to the legal document, you need instructions and directions. Get things written down that capture how you want your life to look and feel if you’re not able to make these decisions for yourself. It’s helpful to think of the POA for Personal Care document as a key to get in a door. You still need to provide your family or loved one with something practical containing actionable items on the other side of that door. It is just as important (and maybe more so) to create habits and discipline in your life to contemplate, review, document and communicate what is important to your well-being and care. Simply put, the legal document is not nearly enough to create a better outcome.
If you’re unsure of where to get started, give us a call and we’ll schedule you an appointment to get you on the right track.