Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Something to talk about...

It can be a very difficult conversation to get started but it's one you just can't afford to ignore. Talking to your elder parents about advance directives is a delicate and sometimes touchy subject. No one wants to be reminded of their mortality or to think about what might happen in the event of a medical emergency and older folks often may feel as though it's just one more part of their lives that they are losing control over. It's hard but with as much compassion and understanding as you can muster up it's something that really should be done sooner rather than later.

When I worked at a local hospital I was often called to go up to a unit to notarize powers of attorney and other documents for people who clearly were in no mental state to be making those decisions. It would break my heart to have to refuse notary services for someone who desperately needed to have them done so that their personal business could be handled while they were incapacitated but there was nothing I could do legally to help them. The time to make those decisions is while you are still in a clear and cognizant mental state, not when it has become an emergency and you are ill and possibly even sedated. Here is an excellent article on advance directives that may be able to help you get that conversation going. It really is something you have to talk about. Today.


Jared Porter said...

It certainly is something to talk about! How great is it that we have a day set aside on April 16 to encourage families to talk about advance directives! Thank you for calling attention to this very important subject and encouraging people to "just do it!"

The Alive Hospice Blog's Becky Riney, a social worker, posted a blog entry today that gives some helpful tips and information about advance directives. Check it out!

Betsy said...

Thanks for the reminder Jared. I'll post a new one for tomorrow also. :0)