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Parents: Consider Benefits of Advance Health Care Directives

Ever since a child is born, parents often change the way they make decisions. When a person becomes a parent, they generally start reprioritizing goals and making sacrifices in ways that benefit their child. It may not always be easy, but many Los Angeles parents would agree that these things are just want parents do for their children.

But as a parent gets older, this dynamic can shift dramatically. Instead of parents supporting and caring for their children, it is often grown children who then take care of their aging parents. Even though the roles have changed, it is important to remember that children can still benefit from the guidance and support of their parents, even if they become too ill to express themselves.

That is why many people complete an estate plan that includes an advance health care directive. This information can help guide others, including children, as they take over some care decisions for an elderly loved one.

When elderly people begin to struggle with physical limitations or dementia, they must often rely on others to help them get the care they need. They can become much more vulnerable and could require increasing levels of medical care as they get older. A person’s child may feel as though providing that care and making decisions for a parent falls on his or her shoulders alone, which could be a very difficult and draining responsibility, especially for children who have moved out of state.

But in many cases, parents have specific wishes regarding their own care, and those wishes may or may not involve their children. Some people prefer to have their children provide care for them and may set aside money to help cover these costs. Others do not want to be a burden and would prefer receiving ongoing care in a full-time care facility. In either case, expressing these wishes may become nearly impossible if a person falls ill.

That is why many people consider an advance health care directive: so they can clearly and purposefully express what they want or do not want in terms of medical care. Making these decisions as part of an estate plan is one way that parents can make it a little bit easier for children and others to know that they are providing the right type of care.

Source: Marketplace, “Taking care of aging parents, from a distance,” Paul Sullivan and Kerry Donahue, Nov. 19, 2013