What is a Living Will and Why is It Important?

Do you know what a living will do? It’s a type of advance directive that ensures a patient’s wishes are followed when they can’t speak for themselves during a medical crisis. A living will often comes into play when a person is in a coma or has a terminal illness.


Caregiver in Manassas City VA: What is a Living Will

Caregiver in Manassas City VA: What is a Living Will



A living will cover things like do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders, feeding tubes, IV liquids, dialysis, and life support measures like ventilators. It covers whether you’d want comfort/palliative care measures like morphine to control pain. It also details if you want to donate any healthy organs or tissue following your death.

Without a living will or other advance directive, family members may squabble over what you’d want. Doctors may be forced to make decisions for you. You could be kept alive while those closest to you fight out these decisions in court.


How Do You Set Up a Living Will?

There are forms you can print online that give you the structure for a living will. They need to be signed in front of a notary. You can find notaries at banks and city/town clerk offices.

You could also go to an elder law attorney and have advance directives drawn up. At the same time, you and your parents need to talk about medical and financial powers of attorney. A POA names someone as your parents’ representative if something happens and they are unable to handle matters on their own.


How Does a Power of Attorney Differ?

While a living will give a doctor measures to follow if the patient cannot speak for him/herself and is terminally ill. A power of attorney gives a representative power to make decisions in other situations.

If your parent has Alzheimer’s or dementia, there will come a point where the body is still functioning, but the cognitive function has declined. Your mom or dad may not understand what a doctor says and needs your help in making medical decisions. That’s one area where a medical power of attorney will help.


Points to Consider in a Living Will or Power of Attorney

When drawing up living wills and powers of attorney, you and your parents need to have a candid discussion. Would your parents want a feeding tube after a stroke while regaining the ability to swallow? While your parent may be against the idea of an end-of-life feeding tube, if there is the possibility of a full recovery, his/her opinion may be different.

Home care services help your parents live independently at home. That’s another discussion to have. As abilities change, see how your parents feel about home care. Would they want you helping with personal care and hygiene? Would they prefer someone trained to assist with that?

Call a home care agency to talk about the benefits of caregivers. They can talk to your parents and your family members to come up with a care plan that makes sure your parents are happy and have companionship.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Manassas County, VA, please contact the caring staff at LivinRite Home Care. Call Us Today at (703) 634-9991.