Page 30 - Senior Housing Directory 2022 South Central Michigan
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  Advance Care Planning – Just Right for You
better to prepare ten years too early than one day too late. It is never too soon to learn about
Having a Durable Power of Attorney for Medical Care, also known as a Patient Advocate Designation, is part of a great long-term plan. However, when complimented by a Durable Power of Attorney for financial matters they can help avoid many problems for you and your loved ones.
In both the Patient Advocate Designation and the Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) for finances you (the principal) appoint a person (the agent) to handle matters for you when you cannot. Many attorneys refer to this as appointing a surrogate decision maker. The agent is chosen for the pur- pose of acting in the best interest of the principal in any decisions and actions taken by the agent.
In the Durable Power of Attorney, you appoint an agent to make decisions and otherwise handle financial matters for you. The agent can act when you are mentally incapacitated, but also when you have mental capacity but otherwise need assistance, such as when it is physically difficult for you to make trips to the bank.
The Durable Power of Attorney is effective even after the principal is no longer competent but ends at the principal’s death. The DPOA document can be effective immediately or it can be spring- ing, which allows an agent to act only after the principal has been determined to be incompetent,
most often after assessments by two doctors find the principal incapacitated.
You can define the scope of your agent’s authority in the document, making the agent’s authority very limited or very broad. Be sure to make the wishes ex- pressed in the document made known to health care providers.
The document can allow for gifting of assets or alteration of an estate plan, but only to the ex- tent specifically authorized by the document and only if the actions taken by the agent are in the principal’s best interests. Having broad powers in the document is very important if Medicaid plan- ning becomes an issue for you. The document can also require accountings by the agent to provide for accountability beyond the fiduciary duty.
In the Patient Advocate Designation, you appoint an agent to make your medical decisions, as well as physical care and custody decisions, if you cannot make your own care decisions. Under Michigan law, a Patient Advocate Designation cannot make decisions for you until two doctors have determined that you are incapable of par- ticipating in the decision making process for your
advance care planning. Once you decide, it is im- portant to confirm with others that they are willing to accept the roles you may be asking of them.
Advance Care Planning (ACP) has two goals: to make sure your healthcare wishes are ex- pressed and honored by using advance directives, and to give a gift to your family and loved ones.
It provides them with critical information and confidence needed for future decisions.
ACP is sometimes an ongoing process of conversations between you, your family and loved ones, your healthcare providers, and legal rep- resentation. Ultimately, your plan will include the communication and documentation of your values, beliefs, and wishes for future, and final healthcare treatments.
ACP includes all types of care you would or would not want to receive if you are unable to communicate your choices on your own at that time. Further, the documents can change overtime if your wishes change. Take the time to be sure others know about the changes and are not surprised in the end causing distress and potential rivalry between surviving loved ones.
The following services are available through the Barry County Commission on Aging for persons 60 years and older.
   • Sr Center Activities • Homecare Services
• SMC Restaurant Dining • Volunteer Opportunities
• Four Congregate Dining Site Locations
• Home Delivered Meals
• Home Repair Service
• Adult Day Services
• Medicare / Medicaid Info
     Barry County Commission on Aging
320 West Woodlawn Avenue Hastings, MI 49058
Phone: (269) 948-4856 Fax: (269) 948-3336 E-Mail:

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