It is said that the earliest evidence of civilization is found in the healed fractures of ancient bones, wounds so grievous that no one could survive them alone in the wild. To have suffered such an injury and to have it heal correctly means that someone had to bring the hurt person food, take them to shelter, keep them warm, and protect them from wild animals. Caregiving is what makes us human and what makes us successful as a species. Providing care is also really hard work. Caregiving requires demanding physical labor and mental focus.
Now the good news is that modern-day caregivers are not typically asked to fend off cave bears or saber-toothed cats. The bad news is that dealing with banks and government agencies can make you wish you had a spear handy. When you’re trying to keep a vulnerable adult alive, it is the seemingly simple tasks that become a source of frustration, such as trying to help a retiree get access to their own money to use for their care. Our financial system is designed to protect people who may be taken advantage of, but it can also make life difficult for people who are just trying to help.
All of us need help from time to time. When that time comes, make sure that you have given your loved ones the tools they need to take care of you and follow your wishes. That said, just because a person needs help doesn’t make them helpless. You have every right to ensure that your caregivers are respecting your rights and upholding your dignity. Careful Estate Planning can help address questions like:
If become incapacitated, who will pay my mortgage and bills?
How will I be treated when I cannot speak for myself?
What if I recover and I don’t like what my caregiver did while I was in the hospital?
What if my caregiver is driving me somewhere and we are both in an accident?
Who gets to decide whether I receive life-saving care or if they let me pass away?
Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney today about how to ensure that your wishes are followed, your dignity is respected, and your property is used for your benefit. If you are a caregiver, thank you for what you do, you represent the best parts of humanity. Be sure to talk to your vulnerable loved ones about making sure that you have what you need to give them the support and care they require.