Legal issues


The very first advice I would give is please, please people, do your advance directive, do your representation agreement, do your power of attorney. Because a lot of this stuff would have been clear and a lot easier to handle if our caregiving—the person we’re giving care to—had set this up in advance. And I just, again, working with people who are dying, I see so many situations where things become much more difficult. And, in fact, because his mother did not do these things, that it ended up being a legal battle over who had rights to make decision for her. And it’s just… we don’t need all of that happening when you’re dealing with the anticipatory grief of somebody who is dying or who is losing so much of their life, and their quality of life. 

The person we’re caregiving for is… I mean, it’s not that he’s dying yet, but he’s lost, I mean, he’s going through all of the grieving in himself as if he were dying. I mean, that’s the way he feels; he feels like he is going to die. So, get it dealt with beforehand, for your own sake, and for your family, and for your friends. And I guess, just that this is… I know that there are people out there who are the only person doing the caregiving for someone who is seriously, chronically ill or dying, but it’s a hell of a lot to handle as well as your own life. And especially, I think, when dementia’s involved, because you’re constantly having to try and move through the confusion and the contradictions and try and figure out what it is that they really want and whether it’s possible to give it to them. And so, I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know how in the culture we can support people who don’t necessarily know each other but who are friends of the person that needs the caregiving, to come together and work as a group. And perhaps, that would be facilitated through these specific roles of power of attorney and representative. I mean, those people end up having to work together.

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