4 Tips for Helping Your Aging Loved One Create a Living Will

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While it can be difficult to talk about, helping your senior loved one put together a living will is important. Ideally, every adult should have a living will, but it’s especially important for seniors because of various health concerns and conditions that can arise. Here are some tips to make the experience less stressful for your loved one and the rest of your family. 


1. Approach the Topic Sensitively 

Starting the discussion about planning a living will in a positive way is less likely to produce a negative outcome. Bringing up the subject could make your loved one think more about mortality and aging, so how you manage the conversation will have a big impact. 

One good idea is to suggest you’ve been putting together your own living will and are realizing how important it is for everyone to have one. Assure your parent this doesn’t mean you expect anything to happen to him or her in the near future but rather that a living will is an important document for everyone to create. 


2. Let Your Loved One Make Decisions 

Once you’ve gotten your loved one’s consent to plan a living will, it’s important to give him or her ownership of making decisions. Helping your loved one put together a living will means being willing to accept that his or her preferences may not be your own. It’s your loved one who must be comfortable with the decisions for his or her life. 

If you’re concerned about your loved one’s choices, try to ask questions about why a certain choice is important to him or her rather than saying you disagree. Sometimes understanding why your loved one made a choice makes it easier to accept. Either way, it’s imperative to present the options to your loved one in an unbiased way and let him or her decide alone unless you’re specifically asked for input. Your loved one needs to feel control over his or her life choices just as much as younger people do.

Planning for your loved one’s future should also include considerations about his or her ability to continue aging in place. Living alone at home in the golden years can present a few unique challenges. Trust at-home care professionals to help your senior loved one maintain a higher quality of life while he or she lives with an illness and performs the daily tasks of living. 


3. Make Sure It’s Legal

Since there aren’t any federal laws about the content and preparation of living wills, the creation is up to individual state law, and what’s legal varies substantially from one state to the next. While everyone hopes their living wills won’t actually need to be enacted, finding out a decision isn’t legal but needs to be enforced could be a real problem. 

Before planning a living will, do some serious research about what your loved one’s state requires to be included to make it valid. It’s also a good idea to have the final draft looked over by a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of documents such as these. Generally, lawyers will look over documents and suggest corrections for a substantially smaller fee than for other services, especially when they don’t need to write up the documents themselves.

Many seniors begin their estate planning after being diagnosed with serious illnesses or experiencing major injuries. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Pearland, TX, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.


4. Inform Family of the Decisions 

Once you’ve prepared a legal living will with your loved one, understand it won’t do any good hidden away in a safe deposit box. For a living will to be enacted, other people need to be aware it exists. At minimum, you’ll want to have your loved one place copies of the living will on file with his or her primary care physician, any specialists he or she sees, and the hospital he or she would use in the event of an emergency. 

Depending on your family dynamics, it may be easier to let family members know about the living will ahead of time instead of trying to explain and defend your loved one’s wishes if something actually does happen. Everyone will listen more fully and with more understanding about the decisions your loved one has made when things are calm, so having a meeting after putting the living will on file is a good idea. 

It’s also essential to determine your loved one’s preferences for continuing to live at home or moving to an assisted living facility as he or she gets older. Many older adults are choosing to age in place, and some need a helping hand to continue living at home safely and comfortably. Luckily, there is professional home care Pearland seniors can trust and rely on. If you need professional home care for your loved one, our Care Managers are just a phone call away. Reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care today.