My fellow bloggers and I write frequently about Powers of Attorney, however my concerns are often focused on the lack of planning when it comes to making Powers of Attorney for both Personal Care and Property. More specifically, although I do not have any statistical data, my subject matter experience tells me that people are more likely to have an attorney named solely for property than having both or only having appointed an attorney for personal care. People seem to care more about their finances than they do about they own care needs. Many times a trust or financial organization has been named as attorney for property yet there is no one named for care. Why do we continue to fool ourselves by thinking that we are going to live well and cognitively intact until we die in our sleep? Dr. Katherine Arnup highlighted the death experience in the Vanier Institute of the Family research paper called ‘Death, Dying and Canadian Families’. I summarized her findings in a previous blog and while it is from a few years ago, I don’t believe much has changed.
The top 3 Canadian desires are:
Desire 1: We want to live forever: We are living longer with more and more of us reaching our 100th birthday.
Desire 2: We want to be fully able and then to die suddenly in our sleep: Only 10% are lucky enough to experience ‘sudden death’. The rest of us will likely linger. For many seniors’ ‘old age’ is accompanied by a progressively increasing number of ailments and chronic conditions.
Desire 3: We want to die at home: Most Canadians die in hospital.
Last week’s blog regarding the Aging With Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors reported that “Ontario will invest 1 million over three years in a public education campaign to raise awareness among seniors on how important- and easy- it is to set up Powers of Attorney and to encourage them to choose who can make personal care and financial decisions on their behalf, if necessary.” This is good news.
Part of our lack of planning, even by those who work in the health and legal fields is that of planning for when we become ill and are no longer able to make sound decisions. We ignore the inevitable and bury our heads in the sand. The message is timeless. Think about tomorrow and how you want to live UNTIL you die and choose someone who can speak for you when you can no longer speak for yourself.