Last week I highlighted events happening locally for Dying Matters Awareness Week 2014. One of the themes being emphasized this year is planning ahead and recording your wishes with regard to end of life care.
A Power of Attorney is a way of appointing another person to make decisions for you in the future. This can be done by way of making a Lasting Power of Attorney sometimes known as an LPA.
There are two kinds of LPA, one for Property and Financial Affairs and the other for Health and Welfare.
An LPA for Property and Financial Affairs enables the named Attorneys to make decisions about a person’s property and finances, such as buying or selling land or buildings and dealing with transactions in respect of a person’s bank or building society accounts and other investments.
An LPA for Health and Welfare allows the named Attorneys to make decisions about a person’s health and welfare, such as where they live, what they eat and where and also with regard to access to medical records.
Also, when making an LPA for Health and Welfare, you can decide whether or not your named Attorneys may make decisions in the future about the refusal of medical treatment on your behalf. Advance Decisions and Advance Statements are sometimes called “Living Wills”.
They allow you to make decisions about your future care and treatment in case there comes a time when you can’t make decisions for yourself in person.
An Advance Decision is a legally binding way that you can set out circumstances in which you would like to refuse medical treatment.
An Advance Statement is a more general document about your preferences from mundane matters such as food preferences (“I do not like mayonnaise and don’t ever want to be given mayonnaise”) to other matters such as spiritual belief (“I have always gone to Church and if possible I would like to continue having some religious element in my life even if I am in hospital or a care home”).
The clear message is taking the time to plan for your future now will benefit you and loved ones later. Yes we must live for now, but wise people also plan for whatever lies ahead.