Planning for the future is clearly an important step for a successful life. Planning for the future means actively thinking about things like when to retire, how to save for retirement, where to live, the costs of prolonged and predictable health decline and eventually yours and your husband’s end-of-life costs.
These subjects, how you will spend your golden years, can be pretty unsettling for some. Having to contemplate end-of-life care, in particular, presents several difficult decisions and considerations that no one relishes thinking about.
But despite the unsettling nature of the thought exercise, these are decisions that you need to make for yourself and for the financial health of your family.
Consider that according to statistics, up to 70% of Americans have yet to spell out how they would want their dependents to handle their future medical care.
By reading this article and connecting with a good estate planning attorney you can put yourself and your family in the 30% of Americans that are ready for the unknown situations life will throw at them in the years and decades to come.
What is an Advance Health Directive?
An advance directive is a term used to refer to a written document communicating direction or guidance on how a person’s future medical treatments should be handled in the event of incapacitation. Usually, an advance health directive will help provide directions on the type of care you would like to get from your health care providers. These documents will also serve as a source of information to everyone involved in your care on whom you want to make decisions on your behalf.
Often, the advance directive for health care helps to clear things up on who should be in charge of taking care of an aged person. The documentation helps to eradicate any prospect for confusion throughout the process.
How Can an Advance Healthcare Directive Will Work For A Woman Caring For Her Husband
First, let’s address the statement: “a woman caring for her husband.” Because statistically, that is what will happen. She is likely younger. She likely, depending on her generation, was the primary caregiver of the children and eventually transitions to the caregiver of her husband. Without a plan though, this caregiving by the wife of a husband, can cause great stress and cause even more significant health concerns for her. So how can an advance directive help?
Usually, there are two main documents that are discussed together in the context of caring for a spouse: a durable power of attorney (DPOA) and a living will. A power of attorney is one form of advance directive, and a living will go hand in hand with the DPOA in a well thought out estate plan. In Georgia, these documents are combined into one document called an Advance Directive for Health Care.
Each aspect of this document is important, and women should ensure that before a health crisis occurs, her husband gets one in place. This essential document will help navigate the health conditions, give clarity to health professions on who can speak on behalf of your husband, give you access to protected health information of your husband and give guidance to all involved of the types of decisions your husband would make if he could advocate on his own.
In brief summary, an advance health directive can be the key to helping you take proper care of your husband as you both age.
Items to Consider When Discussing an Advance Directive for Healthcare
Have a conversation with your spouse. Get to know their wishes for these circumstances
- CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
- Ventilator use
- Tube Feeding and/or artificial hydration
- Other Comfort care
- Do not resuscitate (DNR) preference
- Organ and tissue donation preference
- Treatment of their remains (burial or cremation)
The conversations in getting this important document in place truly help when the time comes in using the document, both for you as the wife of the one needing care and for the family who knows there is a plan in place to care for your husband.
Get Help Today
Are you ready to continue this conversation further? Let’s set up a time for you and your husband to discuss advance healthcare directives, living wills, and the rest of a robust estate plan.