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(Posted 5:30 p.m., Sept. 17)
OutCare Foundation, CARP Ottawa promote advance care planning

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Eastern Ontario's primary palliative care advocate and Ottawa's leading voice for retired people have joined forces to promote the importance of advance care planning.

The Ottawa chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired People, otherwise known as CARP, recently invited the OutCare Foundation and its vice-chair Sharon Carstairs to speak to a gathering of its members about this issue.

Advance care planning encompasses a number of factors, starting with the need to have an up-to-date will, regardless of your age.

But having an up-to-date will is not enough on its own, you should also select an executor who will see to it that your will is adhered to, and you should appoint someone who will possesss the Power of Attorney for your finances and your personal care should you become either mentally or physically incapacitated.

Most experts agree that your executor and the person with the Power of Attorney over your finances should be the same person. That person can either be a family member, a close friend, a lawyer or other professional such as an accountant or financial advisor.

If you do not have any of the above, you risk putting your family members in a potentially difficult situation should you become incapacitated, or pass away. It also means that any wishes you may have, might not be carried out unless they are wrtten down and notarized.

Most people understand the need for a will and selecting an executor, but often leave the issue of who will hold the Power of Attorney until it's too late. The person giving the financial Power of Attorney must make decisions on your personal finances including making sure any bills are paid and the management of your assets.

The Power of Attorney over your personal care is potentially the most important appointment of all. It is their responsibilty to make sure your wishes are adhered to including whether, or not you want to be resuscitated should or kept on life support should it come to that.

If you do not wish to be resuscitated or kept on life support, you need to express that wish to the person holding the Power of Attorney for your personal care and you should both be on the same page.

Other issues that can be addressed through advance care planning is whether or not you want to die at home, and your funeral arrangements. Nothing shoud be left up to interpretation, or possible debate between your loved ones, especially at a time when they must deal with their own grief.

One simple step anyone one can take is to make a list of your passwords and PIN numbers and put them in a book for your loved in case you become incapacitated or potentially die. It can be as simple as writting down the combination to a safe, or where you keep the keys to your safety deposit box.

Whatever the reason, it's never too late, or too early, to plan for the future, especially when it comes to your personal wishes and ensuring that they are looked after once you are no longer capable of looking after them yourself.

Peace of mind is a luxury that an be enjoyed by the entire family with proper advance care planning.

To get started on your Advance Care Plan visit http://www.myspeakupplan.ca.

For more information on the OutCare Foundation and the important work they do visit http://outcarefoundation.org/.

And to learn more about CARP Ottawa visit http://www.carp.ca/about-carp/.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

   

 


Posted Jan. 12



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