Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Caregivers Should Make Plans for a Medical Crisis

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Caregivers Should Make Plans for a Medical Crisis

Article excerpt

There are generally two types of families that enter our office: those in a medical crisis and those concerned about a future medical crisis.

As you can probably imagine, the first situation typically results in fewer options because of the increased stress on the patient and family, hurried choices about medical treatment and future living conditions, and greater financial concerns.

It's a given that as we age, our medical needs increase just simply because our bodies are wearing out. While some of us may live to be 100 years old - and others much less - the goal is survival in whatever form that means to a person.

The concept of aging and the many choices that come with it are well-documented and the topic of many a conversation among families. So, if we're talking about survival, why do so many people bring a penknife instead of a Swiss Army knife to this adventure?

One of the reasons is that many just don't have good information. Addressing aging issues involves a three-pronged approach: medical, financial and legal.

Frequently, we see families appear at our office with nothing more than a basic set of estate planning documents that are geared toward reacting to some future crisis; generally, death or long-term disability. Along with that, they bring the proverbial "suitcase" or metal box of documents that tell their life story, mostly from a legal and financial perspective.

Few people put it all together in advance.

While many people may have engaged a lawyer, financial planner and several doctors, they have never integrated the disciplines to form a cohesive plan that addresses needs along the continuum of care as they age.

Another reason people don't plan in advance is that family dynamics prevent the conversation from happening. Adult children frequently see their parents "slipping," but as one of our clients once said, "You try to get my father to sit down and listen because I can't."

True, a person who is adamantly opposed to advanced planning is poses a difficult scenario. However, one way to balance this position is to educate the caregiver instead of the "careneeder," so to speak. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.