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Why Your Parents Need POAs and Advance Directives

National Healthcare Decisions Day started more than a decade ago. It always falls on the day after Tax Day in hopes of getting people to start thinking about advance care planning. Whether your parents are downsizing and making a move to a new location or want to age at home, they need to have a care plan in mind.

In addition to the discussions you and your parents need to have about their ability to complete activities of daily living, you also need to talk to them about advance directives and powers of attorney. If they don’t have these protections in place, it’s time for them to take that step.

What Is an Advance Directive?

An advance directive or living will is a legal form that tells healthcare professionals what a person would or wouldn’t want to do in different situations. It covers issues like whether you’d want to be kept alive by machines, put on a ventilator while you recover from a disease, or given a feeding tube.

You can discuss your wishes for organ and tissue donation. It’s also a good place to make it known if your religious beliefs prevent you from accepting blood or surgeries. Advance directives also can include DNR orders. In some states, “Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment” (POLST) is discussed with your parent’s doctor and signed by both the doctor and your parent.

There are forms online that you can print out and sign in front of a notary. A trip to an elder law attorney can also ensure these forms are completed correctly and filed with doctors.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

A durable power of attorney or medical power of attorney is also important. If something happens to your parent and they cannot speak up, they can name a person (an agent) they trust to make medical decisions for them. If your dad had a stroke and was unable to speak, he could name you as his power of attorney and have you make decisions.

There is also a financial power of attorney. If your parents can’t pay their bills or make financial decisions, a power of attorney gives an agent permission to help. Again, your mom or dad picks the person they trust to make these decisions.

With a power of attorney, a full recovery revokes the agent’s power until or if it’s needed again. It doesn’t have to be a permanent role.

Help With Activities of Daily Living

The final part of a care plan is to make sure your parents are able to live independently. Senior care aides help with this. Senior care aides can cook, clean, and help your parents at home or at area medical centers or stores.

If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring senior care in Cave Creek, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!

Dementia or Normal Memory Trouble?

Forgetting a few things here and there is part of life, but for your senior, it can feel like an arrow pointing toward dementia. If your elderly family member is concerned that she may be developing dementia, it’s important to talk to her doctor about what she’s experiencing.

Try not to Panic Just Yet

The most important thing to remember if you or your senior are concerned about her memory is that there’s no need to panic just yet. There are a lot of reasons your elderly family member’s memory might not be functioning as well as she expects or wants it to work. Many of those reasons have nothing to do with dementia at all.

Get Some Details on Paper

You’re going to want to talk to your senior’s doctor, so that means compiling some information first. Can your senior remember when she started noticing memory issues that caused her to worry about dementia? If she can, you’re going to want to consider whether this was a sudden issue or something that happened gradually. Is she having trouble with ADLs like getting dressed or eating? These are just some of the questions your senior’s doctor will need answered.

Look at What Else Is Affected

What else is giving your senior a problem now? Is she showing signs of difficulty with judgment, such as making poor decisions? Or is she having trouble with concentrating and focusing? You’re also going to want to pay closer attention to your senior’s ability to communicate right now. If that’s a problem, there may be other factors at play.

Take Everything One Step at a Time

Whether your senior does or does not have dementia is something her doctor can help you to determine. Treatments, including medications, have come a long way and if your elderly family member is treating dementia early, she may have several more years of good health. If she’s not dealing with dementia, there may be other solutions that can lighten some of the stress load on your elderly family member. Senior care providers can help with household tasks, for instance, freeing up your senior’s attention and energy for other activities.

Remember that talking about memory issues can be really scary for your senior and she might avoid the topic. If you’re noticing memory issues and want to talk to her about them, tread carefully and open up the conversation gently.

If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring senior care in Cave Creek, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!

What Do You Need Most When You’re a Family Caregiver?

Being a family caregiver is one of the most important things you can do for your senior, so it makes sense to be as prepared as you can be. These tips can help you to do that a little more easily.

As Much Information as Possible

Information is one of the most important tools you can have as a family caregiver. When you’re properly informed, you’re able to make better decisions and understand how the choices you’re making are going to impact your senior’s life and health. This takes a lot of time and energy, of course, but it’s worth at least attempting to make sure that you can collect all the information you can on a regular basis.

A Solid Relationship with Your Senior’s Medical Team

Your senior’s doctors and specialists can help you to fill any information gaps you have. They can also help you to understand how the information you’re gathering relates specifically to your senior’s health and situation. You may not always agree with your senior’s doctors, but it helps if you know that you can rely on them to call you back and to take care of whatever your elderly family member needs.

Respite Plans

There’s a lot going on when you’re a family caregiver, but rest has got to be part of the equation, too. Your senior needs respite just like you do and when you go into being a family caregiver with a plan for respite in mind, that’s going to be a good foundation. You may not feel as if you need time away now, but when you’re developing that habit, it will pay off for you down the road. In the future, you may need help from senior care providers in order to continue to take respite, so factor that in now.

Your Own Self-care Plan

Something else that a lot of family caregivers overlook is their own self-care plan. This is going to look different for every family caregiver, too. Assess what you need in order to feel and to be your best and make sure that’s in your plan. If you allow yourself to stress out too much or neglect your own needs now, that habit is going to carry forward and it won’t serve you or your senior well at all.

It also helps to take a look at how well these pieces are fitting together periodically. There’s always room for adjustment.

If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring senior care in Cave Creek, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!

What Should Your Senior Do about Covid-19?

Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, or . There are some steps your elderly family member can take in order to help her to avoid this illness.

Stock up on Necessary Items

Groceries, medications, and other necessary items are things that your senior may want to have on hand so that she doesn’t need to go out as often now. It can be difficult to keep up with how often something really is used or needed, though, so it can help for your elderly family member to keep a running list. In terms of medications, her pharmacist or doctor may be able to help her to get a month or two extra supply of some of her essential medications to have on hand.

Use Social Distancing

Social distancing means that your senior remains several feet away from other people when she is out in public. It can also refer to self-quarantining in order to avoid coming in contact with anyone who might have been exposed to coronavirus. It’s a good idea for your senior to make sure she washes her hands as soon as she gets home and when she’s out and about, using hand sanitizer frequently is also a good idea.

Stay Home

Staying home as much as possible is something that the Centers for Disease Control is recommending as the primary method to “flatten the curve” of this virus. In order to do that, it might be necessary for your senior to have some extra assistance. Senior care providers can help with mobility issues and they can also ensure that your elderly family member has what she needs in order to remain at home for as long as necessary.

Contact Her Doctor

If your senior does start to feel ill, either with respiratory symptoms or another illness, make sure that you contact her doctor right away. If the illness she’s experiencing is one that she’s had in the past, such as a flare-up of an existing health issue, her doctor may recommend alternative treatments to having your senior come into the office. For respiratory illnesses or if your senior has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, her doctor might recommend going straight to a hospital.

Senior care services can be especially helpful for your elderly family member during this difficult time. They can run errands for her, make sure that she has groceries and other necessary items, and ensure that she’s got other help that she might need.

If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring senior care in Cave Creek, AZ, please call the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Scottsdale at (480) 284-7360. We are here to help!