Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ontario Seniors - power of attorney

Our senior population is growing.I believe we are getting healthier, and living longer - but productively. I would hate to speak to some seniors who, in their 90s, complain about their friends all being gone. They have little interest, some, in living a full life. It is important that we focus on helping them participate fully in senior life. Some avail themselves of Meals on Wheels, others have a strong social network, crucial at this stage of life.

With senior's groups, and support groups for various disabilities, we can find help for what ails us, and professionals to ease our concerns. With 442,000 Ontarians over the age of 80 in 2006, many face medical and social issues that will be exacerbated with reduced services advocated by politicians who force us to cut back on tax spending.

At a recent Elder Abuse conference, I heard about other issues and one of the big recommendations is to have Power of Attorney for both financial and health care. These are two separate issues. In order to enact the Power of Attorney (POA), your documents ought to have a clause indicating when it will be in effect. Otherwise, like a Living Will, health care acts will prevail.

Ensure that the document names someone who knows what you want at end-of-life.
Ensure that it specifies the terms and point at which it will take effect, requiring a medical or legal opinion on your diminishing capacity.
Ensure that you avoid arguments over your health care, by specifying a trustworthy individual. Many dysfunctional families become even more so when a failing parent requires intense care. Many families cannot agree on what to do for a sick parent.

If you choose, for your POA, a professional, such as your lawyer, etc., you risk high fees for care that can done by even a distant relative whom you trust. Do your homework, prepare for this eventuality. A Living Will will make your wishes known. Specify if you want a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. Consider your quality of life, rather than the quantity of life.

The statistics are clear.

Statcan, 2006 census for Ontario

0 - 14 = 2.2 million people
15 - 64 = 8.3 million
65 + 1.6 million
total = 12 million Ontarians

June news from Germany

A hand fills out an advanced directiveLiving will law passed by German Bundestag

Gro├čansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:
Millions of Germans have already filled out living wills
It's a dilemma for doctors and relatives. What should be done for patients who can no longer communicate. How much longer should they be kept alive with machines? A new living will law puts patients' wishes first.

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