When it comes to making decisions for an elderly relative, there are laws in place that are designed to protect their rights. In all reality, there are only two ways that someone else can make a legal decision for someone else. The first is perhaps the most well known method, and that is through power of attorney. The second isn’t as well known and it involves going through a court and having a guardian appointed.
When it comes to making decisions about medical treatment or senior care, this typically falls under a certain power of attorney referred to as “health care powers of attorney,” or something similarly worded. Senior care falls under this, and unless there is a specific legal document granting you this power, or a court has awarded you guardianship of your parent, you are not legally able to make their care decisions for them. Oftentimes, before power of attorney is handed over, an advance directive will be created so that the person or people responsible for making healthcare decisions have a blueprint off of which to work with so that they know exactly how their loved one would have wanted them to make the decision. This is sometimes referred to as a living will, and helping your mom or dad set one up before they are unable to make decisions for themselves is the very best way to know a few years down the road what the best decision is. The sooner one of these is set up, the better. You never know when something like a stroke or an accident can create a permanent disability, making senior care an emergency need, rather than something that you will get to in a few months. And you never know when something may happen that could impact their cognitive ability. Again, the sooner something is set up, the more at peace you will be when tough decisions need to be made since you know what their will is.
This applies to in-home care, too. Many seniors prefer in-home care because of the fact that it keeps them in their home where they feel comfortable and loved. If this is something that your loved one wants, be sure to get it in writing and put it into a living will as soon as possible. This way, a court cannot move them into a nursing home unless it is absolutely necessary.
If you want to help an elderly parent with their senior care decisions, be sure to speak with a legal professional to ensure that this is allowed. Giving advice to your mom or dad is one thing, but making the decisions yourself is another. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when making decisions for another person, and you don’t want to get in trouble while trying to do the right thing. Cover your bases early and if an emergency situation does ever occur, doing the right thing when it comes to senior care will be far easier.