Though any Georgia resident of any age could experience health issues, it is more likely for elderly loved ones to have a higher risk of serious health concerns. In some cases, those concerns could be so severe that the person cannot express his or her wishes for care or make sound decisions regarding that care. If this happens, family members may be left guessing about what to do unless individuals create advance directives to explain their wishes for medical care ahead of time.
These directives can serve various purposes, and different types of directives exist. For example, an individual could create a healthcare power of attorney document that appoints a trusted person to make medical decisions on behalf of the individual in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated. The individual could also create a living will or advance medical directive that explains what to do in a given medical scenario, such as whether the individual wants to be resuscitated or put on life-saving medical equipment.
Giving another person the ability to make these decisions can cause some to feel apprehensive. However, advance directives typically can only go into effect under certain circumstances, such as:
- The individual reaching a medical state that allows the directives to go into effect as dictated under state law
- The individual being unable to make medical decisions on his or her own, whether due to mental incapacitation, a coma or other circumstances
- The person meeting other applicable requirements as stipulated under state law
Though abuse of power may be a concern, it is important that Georgia residents remember that they can take steps to prevent that type of abuse from occurring. Working with knowledgeable elder law attorneys may help concerned parties gain more information about advance directives and how they can be of use. Having this help could also ensure that the directives are legally valid under state law.