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A living will, or a health care declaration, is a legal document that outlines the type of medical care your elderly loved one does and does not want at the end of his or her life. Although anyone can make a living will for peace of mind, Santa Clarita senior home care experts recommend all seniors have one, even those who are healthy.
This document is usually combined with a power of attorney for health care, which allows your loved one to name someone who will make health care decisions on his or her behalf. In some states, these documents are one and the same. Here’s what you need to know about making a living will with your aging parent or relative.
A living will declares any wishes your loved one has for future health care. This includes life-prolonging treatments like CPR, blood transfusions, dialysis, use of a respirator, and surgery, intravenous food and water if a patient is unconscious, and palliative care to lessen pain and discomfort.
A living will is different than a last will and testament that’s used to leave behind property or name a guardian. You do not need an attorney to prepare a living will, but remember that each state has its own requirements. You can get a free living will form from your loved one’s doctor, hospital, or state medical association. Once the document is filled out, it must be signed, notarized, and witnessed. You can then give a copy to family members, your loved one’s doctor, and his or her hourly or live-in caregiver to ensure his or her wishes are well known.
For additional help with senior planning, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of comprehensive senior care, including hourly, live-in, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care in Santa Clarita for seniors with advanced conditions. Call 661.259.9914 to speak with a dedicated Care Manager who can answer questions, discuss future care options, or schedule a free in-home consultation.