Parenting & Family

Respecting wishes of parents on end of life care

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  • Jul 24th, 2020 10:12 pm
[OP]
Member
Jun 11, 2015
477 posts
513 upvotes
Vancouver, BC

Respecting wishes of parents on end of life care

My parents are lucid and smart but are going downhill due to Alzheimer's. They have been clear to me and my siblings that they do not want extraordinary end of life care.

I'm committed to respecting their wishes there, but I don't think my siblings are. I'm foreseeing a scenario where my parents have dementia and are set to go in for an invasive surgery with minimal benefit that I do not think they would want, but my siblings disagree and the medical establishment wants to overtreat.

What should my parents be doing now to ensure their wishes are clear / respected?

Or is the issue of the hospitals keeping people alive at all costs an American thing?
7 replies
Member
Jun 23, 2006
382 posts
145 upvotes
I think you should consult a lawyer to draft up a living will or advance directive that states your parents' wishes. Best wishes for the road ahead.
Deal Fanatic
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Nov 13, 2010
7396 posts
1573 upvotes
Scarborough
I would think the medical staff/doctors should be better equipped to make those decisions at that time......why not leave it for then, as by then your siblings will also fully be aware of the situation....
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2015
2515 posts
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NOT centre of Univer…
TWELVES wrote: My parents are lucid and smart but are going downhill due to Alzheimer's. They have been clear to me and my siblings that they do not want extraordinary end of life care.

I'm committed to respecting their wishes there, but I don't think my siblings are. I'm foreseeing a scenario where my parents have dementia and are set to go in for an invasive surgery with minimal benefit that I do not think they would want, but my siblings disagree and the medical establishment wants to overtreat.

What should my parents be doing now to ensure their wishes are clear / respected?

Or is the issue of the hospitals keeping people alive at all costs an American thing?
I have been on this scenario to make some life and death decisions for my parents. I can assure you, it is really stressful. My siblings and I are generally on the same page which whatever is the best interests of our parents. My parents also had everything set up legally while they both had the mental and by sick all capability. We discussed as a family general wishes, specific wishes, and general intent to understand what they wanted. It’s important to realize these are your parents wishes, not your or your siblings. They should be followed. However, there were things that we didn’t agree with our parents at the time, but explained our reasoning, in some cases they never considered the reason and changed their thoughts. When things are actually happening it is too late often. Also, don’t think you can get everything answered, because I can also say no matter how much you know, there will always be many things that haven’t been considered. Hence, why it’s important to keep the communications open.

As for your parents, here’s what I would suggest. Your siblings, you and parents need to sit down maKe their wishes known to all. Keep in mind these are tough conversations, Those goals is to truly understand where there are coming from and ask. Then your parents need to set up a personal directive (or whatever it may be called on your province. My parent and siblings had the wisdom to have one person make the final decision. We all make decisions with consultation but having one person with legal power allowed the others to have breathing room. This is really specific to my family dynamic though. Then keep talking to your parents over the years. With COVID, we asked our dad what he would want, it was good to understand.
apnayloags wrote: I would think the medical staff/doctors should be better equipped to make those decisions at that time......why not leave it for then, as by then your siblings will also fully be aware of the situation....
The doctors and staff don’t necessarily make the decision they inform you of the their recommendation but generally you need to provide consent. It’s not cut and dry often. It’s important to be ready to make these decisions or have someone do it on your behalf.
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
6397 posts
5768 upvotes
apnayloags wrote: I would think the medical staff/doctors should be better equipped to make those decisions at that time......why not leave it for then, as by then your siblings will also fully be aware of the situation....
That's not how it works.
Deal Addict
Jun 12, 2008
1445 posts
960 upvotes
Ripley
Definitely talk to them about getting a legal Power of Care (I think that's what its called). They can put their wishes in that document and then the person who is given the responsibility knows. Also do this if you have a spouse. I was asked what my spouse would want and I said one thing. Thankfully he survived and he said he would want something different! He was 35 at the time so we didn't think we needed to have that conversation yet.
Deal Guru
Jun 26, 2011
14736 posts
4869 upvotes
GTA
IANAL but I'd suggest making sure they both have an up to date legal power of attorneys for both financial and personal care. If they also do not think that your siblings will respect their wishes it would definitely be advisable to have you as the POA for the latter. That being said you may have difficulty getting this done now depending on their current mental status especially if they have both been diagnosed with alzheimers. I think if it is in the early stages you should still be fine but best to contact a lawyer ASAP. They c0uld also have complete a DNR so that in the event that they pass away there are not efforts made to resuscitate them if that is their wishes.

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