Next Avenue has posted a very good article by Carol Marak headlined Choosing a Health Care Proxy When You’re An ‘Elder Orphan’. Carol runs the Elder Orphan Facebook page. She points out that most of us don’t consider our long-term care needs until we see someone else struggling with the issues of decline and dependency. Planning for retirement is not the same as planning for aging.
Also, health care proxies are not just for the end of life, or when we are incapacitated. This person is also your advocate ‘in the middle’, especially if you should develop a chronic condition. Your proxy person should be someone you trust, someone who knows your values, your goals, your religious beliefs, your end of life decisions. He or she should also have, in her words, ”the attitude of a pit bull — to not give up or give in because the person meets resistance” – your resistance to decisions that might be difficult to accept.
Additionally, having one health care proxy, while essential, is not enough. You need a whole support network – people who can check in, do some driving, errands, provide companionship, provide personal help. It is not too soon to start putting that network in place. Also, it will need tending. Friends do come and go – they move away, become involved with their own families and life issues. To have a friend is to be a friend to them and support them while you are able.
You can read the full article at http://www.nextavenue.org/choosing-health-proxy-elder-orphan/