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Directives

Posted by bouncingpig (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 23, 05 at 0:06

This last week has been a whirlwind and has seen pretty much all extremes of emotions. My dad ended up in the hospital Wednesday morning for chest pain and then the next morning, the day before being scheduled for surgery on her broken leg, my mother-in-law had a major seizure and ended up in the ICU on a ventilator. It was touch and go for several days, but she is now doing much better and actually had the surgery yesterday. She will be going to the rehab center tomorrow for approximately two weeks. It really was a wake up call to us in areas we hadn't really thought about, such as specific directives regarding DNR wishes, long-term care wishes, etc. DH's step sister tried to "hi-jack" her treatment, trying to force a doctor upon us via "long-distance" phone calls. We felt we needed Dr.s locally, as they could not just know her stats, but also see her coloring, how she was breathing, etc. It got incredibly ugly and stressful. We now realize that things such as preferred doctors, preferred treatment, etc. should be decided before the disaster hits, not after. So, while this time it resolved itself fairly well (though with a bit of bruising of sibling relationships . . . ) we need to be more on board for the future. While my parents and in-laws all have wills, which I "believe" are fairly specific (though we haven't seen them), none of them have directives regarding health issues. So, that has now become a priority for us in regards to them and probably should also be something we do for ourselves too, should something unforeseen happen to us. So do any of you have directives? Is this something your parents have done?

Incidently, my Dad is also doing well and the suspected heart problems appear to actually be spasms of the esophagus. DH and I continue to realize how far into the "sandwich generation" we are. Peanutbutter has become his "pet name" and mine is "jelly". Most of the time we can laugh about it, but sometimes it really becomes overwhelming.

Curious to hear from the rest of you on directives, etc.

Brenda


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Directives

My sister and I both have advance directives and have discussed them thoroughly. We're following in the path of my mother, who also made sure we knew what she would want in a variety of situations - with my father simply adding, "That's what I'd want, too" to most of my mother's statements.

My mother died of lung cancer, at home, cared for by my sister and me. As we knew she would have wanted, we used medicine that lessened her pain and also her life. It was very hard to do, and sometimes still haunts me. I am so glad that my mother was so up-front about everything, so that we knew her wishes were being fulfilled.

I was recently in the hospital for what the doctors suspect was an adrenal crisis. They were worried that I might die, as my reaction was so strong, and my sister wsa in charge of my care. Again, it was a comfort to know that she knew exactly what I would want.

This stuff is far too important *not* to talk about. Oh, and Mom and Dad told us what was in their wills and where to find everything needed. My mother even told me exactly how to do her funeral. We really aren't squeamish in my family.:)


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RE: Directives

My mom also died of cancer at home. She had signed a DNR & a living will giving directives on what kind of medical care could & could not be given. Neither one was ever needed, but it was a relief to my dad, my sister & me because we knew what her wishes were & she had taken the responsibility for making the decisions out of our hands. Had she needed extraordinary care, like life support, her wishes would have been carried out & none of us would have had to live with guilt over a decision we made.

DH & I both signed living wills as well as healhcare power of attorneys shortly after we got married. We have each other named to make decisions, but there's also another family member named as secondary. That way, if we're both involved in a serious accident, someone will be in place to make those decisions.

My mother's parents already have their funerals planned & paid for. I didn't realize when my grandfather died how much easier that made it. We didn't have to pick out a casket or even the clothes he would wear. When my mom died, we had to pick out the casket, plan the service with the funeral director, pick out the clothes, etc. Those things were very difficult for the family.

I'm not really sure about my dad. I know he has a will. My sister & I approached him a couple of times about this, but he didn't seem to want to talk about it. It was probably too soon after my mom died. I'm glad you brought this up, Brenda. Perhaps now would be a good time to approach him again.

Another important issue to discuss with parents who are still pretty healthy is long-term care insurance. My dad got his policy last summer. It's not cheap, but it would certainly help if he needs to go to a nursing home.

Greta


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RE: Directives

Another important issue to discuss with parents who are still pretty healthy is long-term care insurance.

Excellent point. Some life insurance policies (mine, through Security Mutual, does) allow you to convert death benefits into long-term-care benefits. Might be something to check out with your family's insurance policies.


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RE: Directives

Steve, my mother's long term care insurance is what she's living on now, and the best thing she ever did.

Bouncingpig, I'm so sorry for the stress and trauma you're experiencing right now. When it rains, it Pours. I'm sending good thoughts and good wishes your direction. (((Hugs)))

My husband and I just changed our Trustees and signed new wills last weekend. Things have changed since we did this five years ago, and it was important for us to update the information. I expect we may have to do this several times in our lives. Yes, we do have health directives, and I agree that it's very important to make them while you're sound of mind and body, and have the free will to make the choice.

Watching our parents age and deal with the issues they have had to cope with, have really had an impact on the decisions we're making for our future. They still have lessons to teach us!


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RE: Directives

The only thing I know about my parents is that they absolutely don't want to be cremated - beyond that, they are unwilling to talk much about it, though my dad has said that his lawyer has his will, and my mom has a will written out "somewhere" too (probably in the file cabinet - she's very organized when it comes to paper). I'm not *too* worried about them...they're both young yet, so unless a major accident happened, one or the other should be around to make decisions for the spouse if something happens. It will be a major pain in the butt if something happens to both though, since they both have at least one parent still living, and many brothers and sisters who will want a say in the care they recieve no matter what my sis and I tell them our parents want, or even what my parents put in writing. So I'm pretty sure that even a written contract won't help the stress much - sure, we'll be able to make the decisions, but I can see family members taking us to court over it, even if it's on paper, just because they're a very caring, bossy bunch. Heaven forbid anything happens to them at this point, because it will suck for us kids no matter what.

DH and I have talked at length about our wishes involving DNR orders, life support, etc, but we do really need to put it in writing, because obviously our parents will want a "say" too should anything happen, and they'd probably disagree with what we've chosen for ourselves. I listen everyday on the news about that woman on life support whose husband is fighting to take her off, and her parents are fighting to keep her on, and it always highlights how important it is to have that stuff written down, but I never seem to get to it, unfortunately.

I need to make out a will too - I have pets that would need to be taken care of in the event of my untimely demise, and I do want to stipulate in my will exactly how that should happen. DH is my beneficiary for all insurance policies, but we both have siblings as secondary beneficeries as well.

Unfortunately, all of this pre-planning tends to get pushed aside for the "everyday" worries of life...it really is important though.


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RE: Directives

My parents have everything in order. THey are slowly at the young age of 60 moving into a home that is tied to an apartment complex that is tied to a senior home that is tied to medical care. Everything is taken care of them. I have a copy of their will in a large envelope. It has directions on the front of it 1. call x attorney. 2. call x funeral home 3. and so on. Everything is all planned out for them.

John's parents have nothing. They don't want to talk about it. They are the ones I worry about because a. I'm an only child and dh is one of four. So that is likely to cause problems at the end when it's time to split things up. b. they have a brother who needs long term care both financial help, emotional help etc. They are in denial about his needing long term care, help, allowance, etc. It is going to be very bad when they die and have not taken care of this situation.

My husband and I fall in between. I have a DNR form and he does not. That is our own choice. We have set up a trust and arranged for his sister to take our children with everything being sold and going into trust for out children. This will help pay for their care, their education and if any is left- their car and down payment on a home.

It is in the back of my mind that in the future I will plan a funeral. I don't expect to die now and really just emotionally can't think about leaving my children right now. So I don't have a funeral planned. I will though at some time. It is also in the back of my mind to get a copy of all of our paperwork to our sister (My SIL) so she has it on hand if something were to happen to both of us at the same time.

It's on this big master list on everything that needs to be done. I just console myself with I can't do it all every day and I just keep plugging away at it.

Ginger


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