Four generation family take time together for the mother's day. In this photo the grandmother talk with her granddaughter in the living room with happiness. Photo was taken in Quebec Canada.

What Does it Mean to Have Power of Attorney for a Parent?

For caregivers, seniors and family members, the aging process brings up new questions and ways to support your loved ones. Maintaining relationships, helping support health care decisions and finding ways to stay healthy and active are excellent ways to help your loved ones keep their chosen lifestyle as they enter their golden years. However, there are also some legal and financial steps that can be taken to keep your loved one as safe as possible.

One common practice is to put a power of attorney designation in place. A power of attorney, also known as a POA, is a legal document that allows you to make legal, financial and/or medical decisions for a loved one. If you are designated as a POA, you are referred to within the document as an attorney-in-fact, a proxy or an agent. Once you are a POA, you can help make decisions when your loved one is unable.

If you or a loved one are considering obtaining power of attorney for elderly parents, it is important to know what responsibilities are involved in this designation, when it is helpful and how to put a POA in place.

What does it Mean to Have Power of Attorney for a Parent?

If a loved one has requested that you become a power of attorney, or if a medical professional has suggested it, there may have been a life change that brought up this need. Some common reasons a parent or grandparent may ask a loved one to become a POA include:

  • An upcoming surgery
  • Increasing financial responsibilities
  • Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • Planned travel
  • A serious or terminal medical diagnosis
  • An unstable family situation

So, what does it mean to have power of attorney for a parent? There are two main areas covered by POA designations and each one has its own responsibilities. The two main areas are:

Medical Power of Attorney

Also known as durable power of attorney for health care, this document designates a trusted person to make healthcare decisions for someone who is unable to or does not want to make such decisions. The assigned POA works with doctors and other care providers to ensure the person receives the kind of care he or she wants. It is common for a senior to put a health care declaration or a living will in place to give specific instructions and requests the POA can use to make decisions. If your loved one is in a senior living community, like Metropolis Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, the team will have certain guidelines for sharing medical information to protect your family’s privacy. Make sure you understand what needs to be in place for you to communicate with the team about your loved one’s health care, whether or not you have a POA in place.

Financial Power of Attorney

The document needed to put this type of POA in place is referred to as a durable power of attorney for finances. This type of power of attorney allows a family member or trusted friend to handle all financial matters for the individual. The person chosen as POA in this case can handle tasks ranging from depositing Social Security checks to managing investments and filing tax returns.

Senior living communities, like Tutera Senior Living and Health Care, are accustomed to working with POAs and understand how to build a partnership to ensure your loved one’s wishes are honored.

Obtaining Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents

If you are ready to put a POA in place, the process depends a bit on your personal situation. It is recommended that power of attorney be put in place before it is actually needed. If your elderly loved one has dementia, the process may look different. If your elderly loved one is in need of legal assistance, but is resistant to help, the process may look different. Assuming you and your senior family member are on the same page, here are the basic steps to obtaining power of attorney for elderly parents or loved ones:

  • Talk to your loved ones. Open communication is the best way to understand what your loved one wants, doesn’t want and what their concerns are. Make sure it is clearly understood who should be the agent of the POA.
  • Choose a lawyer. Once the details are in place, it is time to choose a lawyer. The laws surrounding the documentation for power of attorney vary between states and it is vital for you and your loved ones to have an advocate to help you through the process and to answer questions.
  • Complete the documentation. Be sure that your attorney understands your parent or loved one’s wishes and uses that guidance to create the needed documentation. While you cannot get power of attorney templates online, you may find some generic forms that can help guide you in identifying the information you will need to provide your lawyer.
  • Execute the POA. Your documents will need to be both signed and notarized. Additional requirements for finalizing the documents may exist in different states.

When you are speaking with your attorney, it is a perfect time to ask any of the questions you need answered in order to feel comfortable serving as a POA or to execute your duties once the power of attorney documents are in place. Questions such as, “Am I responsible for my parents’ debt if I have power or attorney?” or “Is power of attorney the same as guardianship?” and “Can a person with dementia change their power of attorney?” are all common and help to clarify expectations.

At senior communities, like Charlton Place Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, the experienced team has expertise in helping families through putting a POA in place and many other new challenges families face in caring for an elderly loved one. The team at Charlton Place can be an excellent support and resource for you and your family.

Finding Support and Security

For over 35 years, Tutera Senior Living and Health Care has helped seniors and their families to live in safety and security while providing the necessary services for residents to live the lifestyle they choose. “We want to help our residents experience life to the fullest while offering the care they need,” says Dr. Randy Bloom, President and COO of Tutera Senior Living & Health Care.

Explore the Tutera Senior Living locations in your area today and schedule a visit!

Bethany Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Carlinville Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Carnegie Village Senior Living Community
Charlton Place Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Coulterville Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Crystal Pines Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Dixon Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Fair Oaks Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Hamilton Memorial Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Highland Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Hillsboro Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Lakeland Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Mattoon Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Meridian Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Metropolis Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Monterey Park Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Moweaqua Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Norterre - The Estoria
Northland Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
St. Paul's Senior Community
Stratford Commons Rehabilitation & Health Care Center
Tiffany Springs Senior Living Community
The Village at Mission Senior Living Community
Willow Care Rehabilitation & Health Care Center