At the time of her stroke, my mother had done all those things people say we should do – made her wishes clear, her will was done, all powers-of-attorney were signed, she had long-term care insurance, and she had planned her funeral. When the stroke happened, I stepped in and took over my mother’s affairs with scarcely a pause. Taking care of those legal issues was not a wish to die, nor could she have avoided her mortality by avoiding those issues.
Obtaining a Power of Attorney is very important. Taking care of those issues was a matter of love – when we take care of these things, we ensure that our wishes are carried out and we empower those people we trust to take care of us, to do what we need and want them to do. I now highly encourage people to take care of these issues.
A power of attorney is not for you. It’s for the people you love. It’s for whoever is going to take care of you, support you. You’re doing it for them. If you want your wishes carried out, you want to empower them to carry those wishes out.
I hear so many people that say they don’t want to do it because they don’t want to talk about their death. They don’t want to confront their mortality. And one of the things I look at is, whether you do your will, talk about the issue of mortality or don’t, it’s not going to change the fact that we’re all going to die some day. But what it does, is empower the system and the people in charge of your affairs to carry out your wishes.
The alternative is to just not do anything, and then something happens and your family (or whoever) has to get guardianship / conservatorship. It’s a lot more expensive, it’s a lot of time in court, and I haven’t even mentioned the stress!
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