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Understanding Health Care Directives

One of the most important legal documents that anyone can have is a Health Care Directive. This form is especially important for senior citizens because it directly affects health care choices made on their behalf. Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care in Bridgewater, NJ, explains what a Health Care Directive is and why it’s so important.

What is a Health Care Directive?
A Health Care Directive is a document that speaks for a senior who may have become unable to speak for his or herself during a medical incident. It contains the exact forms of treatment a senior is willing to undergo and could contain specifics about life saving efforts that a senior does or does not want performed. It will also state whether or not a senior wishes to remain on life support if events should place him or her in such a situation. Additionally, a Health Care Directive can give power to a specific person (usually a family member) who can make further decisions about the senior’s health care when the senior cannot.

What Happens if a Senior Does Not Have a Health Care Directive?
If your elderly loved one does not have a Health Care Directive and something happens to him or her where they cannot respond to medical providers about their desired care, the doctor and/or the state has the say on what treatments your senior loved one will or will not receive. These treatments could be against your judgment or beliefs, or the wishes of your senior loved one. However, since there are is not a directive in place or a person appointed to speak on your loved one’s behalf, he or she is subjected to the choices of others. Health Care Directives are very simple to fill out and are often a part of estate planning. It’s never too soon to sit down with your loved one and his or her estate planning lawyer to go over and fill out a Health Care Directive. You never want to think about the worst, but should something happen to your senior loved one you will be glad you took the time to do this.

Bridgewater Home Care Assistance knows one of the most important aspects of senior care is preparedness and planning ahead. That said, if you are concerned your elderly loved is forgetting to take medication, not eating a healthy diet, or unable to keep up on day-to-day activities around the home, consider a caregiver in Bridgewater. Our caregivers are highly-trained and able to assist with medication reminders, grocery shopping and cooking, light household chores, transportation to and from appointments, and much more. For more information, call a Care Manager at (908) 450-9400 to schedule your free in-home consultation.