Sometimes more paperwork is the last thing people want to think about when they’re entering palliative care, but there are some important documents that residents of Coronado and elsewhere can focus on.
The staff at Accredited Home Care agrees that the amount of paperwork and documentation seem to be unending whatever stage of life they’re in or whatever health conditions they’re being treated for. It also can feel overwhelming at times trying to keep track of it all.
This month is a good opportunity to take steps to start organizing it. Oct. 3-10 is Financial Planning Week, an annual period of time when financial professionals assist everyone to look into ways to improve their skills at savings, investing and general money management.
Though there’s never a bad time of the year to learn these things, a wide variety of financial organizations say that dedicating one week can benefit everyone. For instance, someone who learns ways to save money or invest well early can take a long time to learn these habits – and also have their money grow.
At the other end, someone who didn’t start saving regularly until later in life either may not have enough or may need to put more money into retirement funds. Seniors also may become concerned with making sure they have enough funds to take care of themselves and then leave a legacy for their family and community. Someone on palliative or hospice care may feel under deadline to finalize major financial decisions about their estate.
Financial professionals in your area who specialize in senior topics and estate planning will be happy to discuss options for you, especially if you feel motivated to exercise more control of your as part of Financial Planning Week. They may even tell you, you’re doing fine saving and dispersing your money, or give you suggestions to make sure funds are accessible to you and to any family members/heirs in the future.
Along with useful financial documents, consider putting aside or updating other helpful information, which can provide instructions for your health, finances and general well-being. These can provide reassurance to your family, your providers and yourself in case things get confusing in the future and you’re not able to adequately share your wishes, whatever the situation.
- Power of attorney. This document officially appoints someone to make physical, legal, mental or financial decisions on your behalf if you’re ever at the point when you’re unable to such as in a hospital or heavily medicated. This person who you select should know your wishes and do his or her best to carry them out, even if they personally may have private opinions. This way, it will prevent family members from having to make these decisions themselves or discuss what you would want. The types of these requests and the amount of power of attorney may vary: some forms only focus on the medical.
- Last will and testament. You should already have a will but if you don’t, you should get one quickly. Having clear instructions who gets your money and property can reduce the possibilities of legal battles and hurt feelings among your heirs. Even if you don’t have a major fortune, or even a minor fortune, clearly designating who gets what and who the executor is can help keep things orderly and out of the court system. It can also allow you to designate who else can get your money, such as a charity or community organization. While an attorney will be glad to help you create a formal will, you also can create a simple one any time as long as you have witnesses sign.
- Organ donor notification. Some people like the idea of others benefiting from their body parts after their death. Others don’t like this idea at all or their family members may not. You can indicate in a document. If you’re near death and at the point where this is being considered, physicians will ask this question to your family. If you have previously acknowledged this or refused this in a formal document, it will be easy for people to answer on your behalf.
- A living will/DNR. This document will instruct medical personnel on what procedures you want to be performed on you or not performed on you in a lifesaving situation where you may not be conscious or able to give consent. Most medical staff feel an obligation to take substantial efforts to “bring people back” such as if they go into cardiac arrest or show no signs of brain activity. People can also be kept alive indefinitely on a ventilator and respirator. If you would rather die peacefully if you’re at this point, a DNR, or Do Not Resuscitate, can provide guidance to medical staff to either continue their efforts or stop them.
- POLST. You and your provider can speak ahead of time, and you can provide him or her with information for the “Physician Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment” form. This shows that he or she agrees with the course of action you want. This document can be used to provide guidance to medical staff if you are hospitalized or need medical attention quickly in an emergency situation and your provider can’t be reached in time.
Overall, the staff at Accredited Home Care can help get your financial and paperwork questions answered.