Life at Canterbury for me is retiring with dignity for body, mind and soul.
- Canterbury Resident
Many of us don't plan for the future, a common reason being the lack of understanding of what happens when we have lost our capacity to make decisions, and no appropriate documents are in place (such as a Personal Directive, a Will, or Power of Attorney). While many believe the next of kin - a spouse or child - is invitably the person who will make all decisions, this "common sense" approach is more complicated than we think. So, what do we do?
Consider the following. From whom shall a service provider take direction?
The adult 60 years old son or the new spouse?
The biological child who had never been involved in the care of their elderly mother or the son-in-law who had been closely involved in the care of the elderly woman?
The eldest child who has lived far away for years or another child who lives nearby?
A complicated factor is that these decisions need to be made very quickly. However, without the official legal document appointing a substitute decision maker, the family must go through the court to get someone appointed. This is an expensive and time consuming process that may take years and can lead to family stress, confusion, and conflict.
Every Albertan who is 18 years of age or older – especially senior - should have at least four essential legal documents to protect them and their family:
1. Personal Directive (anything except finances)- You write a personal directive when you can still make your own decisions. Your agent does not make decisions for you until you need help, which is confirmed through a capacity assessment.
2. Enduring Power of Attorney (concerning finances) This allows you to designate someone you trust to make financial, tax and legal decisions on your behalf if you lose your decision-making capacity.
3. Will (after death) - Outlines what should result on or after a person’s death, including choice of guardian for children, and those you wish to manage any part of your estate.
4. Goals of Care (Green Sleeve) Goals of Care Designations are instructions that guide your healthcare team about the general focus of your care, and where you might want that care.
For more information on these resources and other ways Canterbury Foundation can support you through the planning process, contact Rosaly Palchevskaya, Social Worker, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Health Services at 780-930-3733.