A Personal Note from Attorney Deborah Danger about Guardianship and Caretaking.
Her experience with this challenging part of life may benefit you and your loved ones.
Are you deciding whether to enlist help caring for someone who is losing their ability to live independently? Do you feel ambivalent about doing so?
Family should care for family, right? Except that the growing list of your care-related responsibilities requires knowledge and time that you might not have. Enlisting professional assistance will help ensure high-level care for your loved-one, help you make better decisions and get more rest, and let you enjoy more time with your loved-one.
I know. I cared for my life partner after she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She lived with this diagnosis for nine years. I prepared her MassHealth application; interviewed, hired and fired personal care attendants; attended meetings with health care providers and managed and tracked medications; coordinated rides to and from appointments; advocated for her hospital and outpatient care; arranged for a wheel chair, an oxygen tank and supportive services; paid her bills; managed her money and filed her taxes. And I allowed her to participate in these things as much as she was able and interested.
I also supported her wish to be active. When she could no longer work, she took classes in stained glass, Spanish and physics. She enjoyed lunches with friends, trips to the public library and shopping with paid companions. These activities prevented her from feeling isolated. She also participated in support groups, alternative health treatments and anything else that made her feel in control.
Once we had a system in place, I stopped stressing about her care, and she looked forward to scheduled events and had interesting stories to tell upon her return home. She had fun, retained her dignity and, our relationship improved. She no longer felt guilt and shame from not being able to function as highly as she wanted. I was no longer too fatigued to enjoy our free time. We made the most of our time together.
As a result of the experiences I had while caring for my partner, and as an attorney, I now help my clients protect loved-ones who are declining. For example, I’ve helped families get unsafe drivers to stop driving, raised issues of mental and physical capacity with people who may no longer be safe living on their own and reviewed existing or created new documents that prepare for incapacity and death, such as powers of attorney, health care proxies, wills and trusts.
Curiosity about the legal issues related to what you want to accomplish most likely brought you to this page. But, if your simultaneous goals are to care for and enjoy a loved one whose health is declining, let’s talk about how I can help you. Not only by accomplishing the legal steps, but also by listening and understanding your wishes and goals.
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