By Brenda Deschner, Certified Concierge Care Advisor

I am asked by families all the time if they need to have Power of Attorney (POA).  The answer is no, but I’m going to explain why you SHOULD have one.

No one ever plans a heart attack, cancer, or a fall with broken bones.  Or, not knowing you are in early stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia and a fall, stroke, or Urinary Tract infection that suddenly brings your Alzheimer’s or Dementia symptoms into a deeper stage. So, since we can’t plan for any of these things to take place, a plan is necessary before anything actually happens.

When you don’t have a POA, you are leaving your spouse or children to make life and death decisions for you.  They do not want to make these decisions for you.  They always feel like there is so much pressure, and they definitely don’t want to make the wrong decision.  They will not have access to your money.  These are things you may and/or will need help with.  They may not have the funds to cover your care costs.  Without access to your funds, they cannot make a plan that will be the best outcome for you.

If you don’t have a POA and you do not have a spouse or living children, it may be necessary to appoint a guardian for yourself.  What this means is that someone from the state can and will act as your guardian, making health decisions and will have access to your assets.  You will not have a choice in the matters of your care, location of home, care community, or your money.

When you have a POA, they’re able to make decisions for your health, based on what you have directed in your POA, if you are unable to.   They will be able to do their absolute best to grant your care needs and wishes as well as the location of a home with care when needed.

Having a POA will help put your mind at rest, knowing that your wishes will be honored. It is one more way you can express to your loved ones that you care about them too, by removing the burden of trying to figure it out!