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The benefits of long term care planning

No one wants to think that they will get older and require medical care at some point in their lives. But, aging happens to all of us and it is best to have a plan, such as a living will, for these circumstances.

You can never know for sure if one day you will need long term care. Medical needs are unique for every person and the careful consideration of these needs can go a long way. In order to prepare for any medical needs you may have you should first think about what may happen if you become seriously ill or disabled. It is important to talk with friends and family about who would care for you if you have medical needs.

After thinking about what may happen if you become very ill it is best to create three legal documents to prepare for any serious illnesses. First, a health care power of attorney should be chosen. This person will make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated. It is important to choose a person who knows your wishes and respects your values and beliefs.

Second, a living will is another important document. A living will is also known as a health care directive. This document is used to communicate your wishes when you come close to the end of your life. It lists what life-saving equipment you want used when you become permanently unconscious, terminally ill or in the final stage of a fatal illness. Third, you may also want to consider having a do-not-resuscitate order. The DNR order tells medical professionals to not use CPR or other support procedures to restart your heart if you stop breathing.

Legal professionals can help their clients put together long term planning documents. They can create the legal documents necessary to ensure your health care wishes are carried out.

Source: NIH Senior Health, "Planning for long-term care", accessed on Oct. 20, 2014

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