seniors

Power of Attorney and Personal Directive for Seniors

Why are Power of Attorney and Personal Directive so Important for Seniors?

Bring up talk about legal documents and many people’s eyes begin to glaze over, especially if you’re a family caregiver. After all, you have enough to do caring for your senior loved one without worrying about complicated legal issues and paperwork, right? However, two legal documents can potentially be important in the life of family caregivers and the seniors for whom they care: Personal Directive and Power of Attorney.

Generally, a Power of Attorney “POA” is a legal document that gives an individual the power to act on another person’s behalf. In other words, having this document in place could give the older adult in your life the confidence in knowing that choices about their financial life would not be left in the hands of a stranger if they no longer could make decisions for themselves. A POA allows adults over the age of 18 to designate another adult to manage their financial affairs if, because of health issues, they couldn’t.

More specifically, an enduring POA is one that can stay in effect even when the individual can no longer make decisions on their own or loses capacity because of a physical, mental, or cognitive condition.

So why go through the hassle of putting these legal documents in place? Not doing so can creates a risk. For instance, if something happens to your loved one who does not have an enduring power of attorney, you may have to go to court to get the authority to handle that person’s financial affairs and that can take weeks to months.

  • POAs have the ability to give seniors who have them in place greater control over their lives. For example, if you were your mother’s POA and she could no longer handle her business affairs, you would have the authority to pay bills, manage her daily business dealings, manage property, file taxes and apply for public benefits such as CPP or GIS.

A Personal Directive is a “medical” power of attorney legal document.  In general, a Personal Directive makes one individual a healthcare Agent for another. Depending on the situation, this can allow the Agent to do, for example, the following:

  • Direct the medical care that someone needs. For instance, if your father was ill or needed surgery and you were his healthcare Agent, you could work with medical professionals to determine the type of care he receives, the doctors and care providers who treat him, and even where he lives while he recovers.

There are certain things POAs cannot do:

  • Change someone’s will
  • Make decisions after their death (unless, for example, the POA is also the executor of the will)
  • Change or transfer POA to someone else

Remember, it’s important for you to obtain such documents as well. All adults 18 and over need these documents to help ensure their wishes are carried out if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves.  A terrific graduation present for those young adults in your life.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Seniors Health and Wellness, 0 comments

Top Concerns About Living a Long Life

51%    Health problems/costs

47%    Financial security/fear of running out of money

40%    Being a burden on family

20%    Loneliness or having no purpose

14%    Having nothing left to leave to heirs

13%    Being a victim of abuse, neglect or fraud

2%      Other

Source: BMO Wealth Management survey by ValidateIt Technologies Inc., July 2018.

Overall, the most frequently cited concern was about future healthcare costs and whether health problems will affect quality of life (51%).

Fears about running out of money during retirement (47%) and being a burden on family members (40%) also came high on the list.

Being lonely later in life was a concern for 20% of respondents, and not having anything left to leave to heirs was mentioned by 14% of those surveyed.

A similar number (13% of respondents) worried about becoming a victim of abuse, neglect or fraud.

Financial Concierge Inc. can help mitigate the risks of financial abuse and fraud through assistance with day to day money management as a second set of eyes.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Seniors Health and Wellness, 0 comments

Dementia, Alberta’s Position

For every person who is diagnosed with dementia, 10 to 12 additional individuals are also directly affected by the diagnosis.

The lifetime risk of dementia is 1 in 5 for women and 1 in 10 for men. More than 17,000 Calgarians (about 10% of our seniors) live with dementia and 8 more will develop it today (2,800 this year).  In addition, there are thousands of people living with undiagnosed dementia. Even more concerning is the fact that these numbers are expected to double within the next 20 years. As a growing social and systemic issue, dementia has the potential to overwhelm families, communities, workforces and our healthcare systems in Calgary.

dementia network calgary

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Older Adults Living Alone

Why go it alone?

A recent study noted in a Washington Post article by writer Judith Graham, notes that 22% of older adults in the US fall into a group called “elder orphans” or “solo agers”, referring to people who live alone and have no spouse or children. These people, no different than those who are fortunate enough to have family around in their later years, still need services than most elderly people need when they can no longer carry on alone. The luckier ones may have the option to relocate to a seniors’ facility where they can receive the care they need. Others may need to rely on friends or perhaps contract the needed services from a private home care provider where the elderly person may continue to line in their home.

In a survey of 500 people who identified with the Elder Orphan Facebook Group or 8,500 members, 70% of them stated that they had not identified a caregiver and 35% said they did not have friends or family to help them cope with their new challenges. About 31% of them said they were concerned about their future financial security and 23% said they had experienced at least one instance in the past year where they were not able to meet a financial obligation.

While the above focused on single individuals without a spouse or children, it could be easily considered to apply to aging singles who may have children living at great distances from them and who are not easily able to help in a timely manner. For some elderly singles who may have Dementia or Alzheimer’s, they may no longer have the cognitive ability to ensure their financial plan can support the services they will need.

The time to ensure the financial part of the equation is balanced is earlier in life and this applies for couples as well as for singles who have entered their retirement years. In the absence of having family nearby, a first step would be to meet with a trusted party to review the current financial situation and simplify it as may be found necessary. This will lower the stress of wondering if bills can be paid on time or, in the long run, whether money will run out one day and what can be done to address such concerns.  Once a plan is in place and followed, there will be points within it that will trigger change. Such changes could include a means to handle bill payments and other financial activities if needed. This could mean having an accountant help with monthly financial activities, bank account reconciliations, investment income changes, etc. A final stage in the planning for some people could mean their entering a Seniors’ Facility where they can continue to live as independent a life as possible but be in a location where 7 x 24 hour care is possible.

A good way to start is to meet with a person who can describe the services available and lay out a plan for the coming years. Upon review of the plan that would be tailored specifically for the individual or couple, the decision to continue and follow through with its recommendations or to have someone assist in its execution. The level of involvement by the trusted and capable party would be such that it could simply be an assessment or one that would assign a person to meet on a periodic basis and carry out all the tasks necessary to allow the senior time to enjoy their life without the worry of missing a bill payment or feeling that they are missing out on one or another aspect of their life.

Posted by Admin-FCI in Seniors Health and Wellness, 0 comments