As the parent becomes less independent and unable to care for his or her own needs, it becomes clear that you will have to take the needed steps to ensure that legal, personal, medical and financial interests are protected. One way to do this is to get a power of attorney drawn up so that you or someone you trust can act on your elderly parent’s behalf to make decisions that he or she can no longer make independently.
This is not an easy thing for an elderly parent or the child of the elderly parent. So it is very important to involve the parent in the preparations as much as possible. This leaves the parent feeling less helpless or left out of the process. Honor the parents’ wishes when possible; however, do realize that you are entrusted to act in your parent’s best interest even if the parent disagrees with you. It is also not a good idea to rely on those generic self-help legal software programs. For a delicate matter such as this, an experienced attorney to help decide what needs to be done is the better option. There are many factors that come into play with issues such as a power of attorney such as the present and long-term medical condition of the parent as well as their own personal wishes for how affairs are to be handled. Moreover, do not pressure your elderly parent into making life-changing decisions, especially when he or she is tired, hungry, restless or upset. Choose a time to talk and present the information gradually instead of all at one time. Keep everything relaxed and don’t force the issue.
Check back on Saturday, October 2, 2010 to learn the process of obtaining a power of attorney.