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Going solo: Safeguarding your wishes as an independent senior

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Trust & Estate Planning

Living a fulfilling life on your own terms is a dream for many older Floridians. But as we age, medical emergencies can arise, leaving us unable to make critical healthcare decisions. For independent seniors, this situation can be particularly concerning.

While the number of adults aging alone may be rising, planning for potential incapacity often goes overlooked. Fortunately, you can ensure your medical wishes are respected in a crisis.

Appoint a healthcare surrogate

What if a sudden accident or illness leaves you unable to communicate? In such scenarios, a designated healthcare surrogate or representative becomes your voice. This trusted individual, named in a legal document called a healthcare power of attorney, can make medical decisions on your behalf.

Choosing a surrogate is a vital decision. Ideally, select someone physically fit and reliable, like a close friend or adult child. If a suitable candidate is unavailable, consider appointing a law firm or elder care agency.

Taking control: Your healthcare directives

A living will is another powerful estate planning document that keeps you in control of your health care. It allows you to directly express your preferences and outline the medical treatments you do or do not want to receive in specific situations.

Use a living will to address your wishes regarding life support measures like artificial respiration or feeding tubes, especially if you have strong convictions about end-of-life care.

Empowerment through knowledge

As an independent senior, you do not have to give up control of your medical care. Familiarize yourself with the resources available to support safe and secure aging. Research and understand the legalities of healthcare decision-making. Consider consulting with an estate planning representative for personalized guidance unique to you.