Seniors need to plan ahead for healthcare wishes

BC Notaries is advising seniors for National Seniors Day, Oct. 1.

As National Seniors Day approaches, BC Notaries are advising seniors and Baby Boomers to ensure their healthcare wishes are clearly and legally documented in case they develop an unforeseen health condition where they can’t speak or care for themselves.

Since most people over age 55 are healthy and active, this is the optimal time to capture their instructions while they are still physically robust and legally of sound mind, according to a news release issued from BC Notaries.

RELATED: Kelowna firm encourages annual medication reviews for seniors

“As Notaries we often see previously healthy clients, even in their 50s and 60s, who are facing a critical illness diagnosis or have recently been diagnosed with dementia who want to put plans in place for their health care and sometimes, sadly, it’s too late,” said President Daniel Boisvert, BC Notaries Association and a Tsawwassen Notary. “Health issues can be surprising, particularly when you’ve always been active, and create a very stressful time for those diagnosed and their loved ones. We strongly recommend planning before a major illness strikes, so you have time to carefully consider your options.”

While this applies to everyone, it is particularly important for the many seniors living alone or living with a partner to whom they’re not married. A report from Statistics Canada’s 2016 survey showed that 33 per cent of women and 17 per cent of men over age 65 live alone, while 7 per cent of couples live with their partner outside of traditional marriage, a 56 per cent increase since 2011.

Seniors who are living common law, and particularly in new relationships, may have legal ties to previous partners and, of course, to their own children. Regardless of how complex or simple these relationships might be, identifying a decision-maker without clear direction can create confusion, hurt feelings and inconsistency with an individual’s actual wishes for healthcare measures, financial decisions, and distribution of property. Legal fees can also escalate, the release said.

Similar issues exist for people living alone, since a spouse would typically make such decisions on their behalf. When these wishes are not clear, the court can step in and appoint a decision-maker, who is unlikely to be aware of the individual’s own intentions, the release said.

Advance care planning documents ensure your decisions are followed, even during dementia or a critical illness. Depending on your unique needs and situation, you might require a Representation Agreement, an Advance Care Directive, and/or a Power of Attorney. A trained and professional Notary can advise you on what tools best meet your needs, the release said.

“Having an advance care plan in place provides peace of mind for clients and their families and loved ones, particularly if they are single, separated or living with a common-law partner,” said Kristy Martin, a Langford Notary. “It’s easier to create a plan than most people think, and most clients find the process a big stress relief.”

RELATED: Care hubs to be discussed in Kelowna for seniors

BC Notaries are professionally trained and have extensive experience in helping clients develop advance care plans and recommend the following approach:

Inform yourself about options and decisions. It starts with a conversation with a Notary and some self-education. It’s not hard and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.

Decide how decisions will be made if you can’t make them.

Have a conversation with your physician so you understand how certain decisions could affect you, considering any health conditions.

Have another conversation with family members who you want to be involved in your future care planning. Or ask a close friend if they will fill this role for you. You may also want to discuss available financial resources and future care support options.

Your local Notary can help you decide what should be in your Advance Care Plan and then put everything together in writing to ensure you’ve fully considered and clarified your decisions.

To find a Notary near you and for more information, visit www.notaries.bc.ca.


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Federal candidates meet at riding boundary in Kelowna

They’re hoping to encourage people to vote by informing people where they’re meant to vote

Kelowna Rockets GM anxious for season’s start

Big off-season changes, the Memorial Cup; it’s all coming together for Bruce Hamilton

$13 million Kelowna cannabis facility deal terminated

GTEC Holdings did not give a reason for the purchase’s cancellation

West Kelowna motorcyclist awarded $132K for traffic accident

Supreme Court of British Columbia finds pickup driver liable for motorcylist’s injuries

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

Morning Start: FRESH HEADLINE HERE

Your morning start for [PUT DAY, DATE HERE]

Nelson man accused of swimming naked at Toronto aquarium expected to plead guilty

David Weaver, of Nelson, was arrested and charged in October of last year

VIDEO: Party leaders react to Trudeau’s brownface photo bombshell

Fallout from Justin Trudeau’s brownface photo, and two other instances, sure to dominate campaign

South Okanagan man suing library for almost $20K has to settle for less

A man was suing the City of Penticton Library for almost $20,000 after his backpack was stolen

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized, BC SPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

Vernon race organizer head-butted by homeless man won’t be stopped

Man arrested after allegedly stealing race flags, assaulting woman in Kalamalka Lake park

Penticton man with multiple driving infractions loses appeal on ‘harsh’ sentence

Driver has been convicted multiple times, including for criminal negligence causing death

Most Read