It’s a difficult choice for any child to make. But if your parent has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you’ve likely seen this day as inevitable for some time. Your parent’s condition has finally progressed to the point that you and their doctor feel it is necessary for them to receive around-the-clock care for their safety and wellbeing.
This one decision is the catalyst that necessitates many more choices. Your priority is likely finding a well-maintained, welcoming home that provides excellent care. But it’s also vital to think about legal matters right now. Have you made appropriate provisions for your parent’s future? Hopefully, you’ve already talked with your parent about what they want. But are their wishes outlined in binding legal documents, as they should be?
A checklist of medically related legal considerations
- Create or update an advanced healthcare directive. Your parent’s input is necessary for a valid directive, so it may or may not be too late if you do not have one already in place. An advanced healthcare directive, also called a living will, makes your loved one’s treatment preferences known regarding potential medical scenarios.
- Sign a HIPAA Waiver. This allows your parent’s health information to be disclosed to the family.
- Appoint a medical power of attorney. This might be you, their spouse or another family member. It depends on the parent’s preferences—if they can make the choice—or who the parent’s loved ones decide is most appropriate.
These considerations could provide clarity and confidence to the appointed decision-maker as well as a sense of much-needed security to the parent experiencing so much upheaval—at least, for as long as they remember to worry about these things.