Page 19 - Senior Times South Central Michigan - November 2017 - 24-11
P. 19

As some of you know I’ve been away all summer – life has changed for me, and those I love, in the blink of an eye. What happened you might ask? It all started with what seemed like the flu, then a broken ankle. We sailed though surgery and went home. The next road block was a diagnosis of encephalitis – swelling of the brain that had affected his memory. What started
as, “He should fully recover” turned into, “It’ll take months to recover and we’re not sure what ‘recover’ really means because everyone is different.”
So I’ll save you all the gory details but I cannot be silent about the nightmare not having legal paperwork in order has caused. I’m saying this very loudly and asking – do you have all your affairs in order, not just regarding your death but also regarding how you would want every aspect of your affairs handled?
You see, legal paperwork is critical in today’s world and making sure all those interested are aware of and understands what your wishes are, and how you want your life handled, if you can’t handle it yourself; even if it’s just a temporary situation.
We all make the assumption that people know, that “so and so” will look out for us. But the reality of the last five months has been – they will look out for their own interests; after all they are just human.
You see, I was under the impression, from working in aging services, that cer- tain “jobs” like a court appointed guardian ad litem or a court appointed guardian would strive to watch out for a person whose mental capacity has been compro- mised because that’s their job. I wanted
him and his rights protected. In my opin- ion, that did not happen. Having the appro- priate legal documents in place would have made a difference.
Without those documents what solu- tion could have made things better for all? Leaving his rights in tack; people who love him working together to make sure bills were paid; appointments were made; discussions were happening in his best interest; the list could go on and on. That was not my experience.
What can help if you find yourself in
a medical emergency? Being prepared by making sure you do not wait. Seek legal advise about all the correct paperwork that might be needed. Even if you’re liv- ing with someone without being married, there are written agreements you can have drawn up legally so everyone is protected. Most importantly DO NOT WAIT! You never know when “the flu will hit” and your world could get turned upside down.
As we age, we, just like younger adults, never think something will happen to us before we get around to it. Even if it did, we assume that others would make our best interests the top priority. The sad truth is, everyone has their own agenda. So court happens, misleading statements are told and lives are destroyed all because we were foolish enough to think, it won’t hap- pen to me.
As fall comes to an end and winter season starts – make sure you start a new season as well. Take care of your business and be sure you discuss all aspects of your life, legally. You are the only person who can look out for yourself and the person you love.
We are all blessed because of the job each family caregiver does. May your lives be filled with peace and love at this beauti- ful Thanksgiving season.
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Senior Times - November 2017 Page 19
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