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Difficult conversations

Hi everyone,

It is getting to the point where I need to have the difficult conversation with my mum about advance directives and power of attorneys, any suggestions as to how I approach this subject?

I know the conversation will be upsetting regardless but I am growing increasingly concerned that she is just ignoring the issue and I want all these things in place before it is too late.

Just to add some context, my mum only recently received her diagnosis as she already had other major health issues that are treated with the maximum doses of all the same medications as MS (and some) and her MS symptoms were largely hidden by her other conditions. However since her recent diagnosis she has gone significantly downhill. I fear the conversation will be especially difficult as I do not think she has fully come to terms with her new diagnosis. Also, I am 20 so am looking to make sure I don’t come across as patronising as she is still very my mum and I don’t want to cross the line or change our relationship.

Thank you!

Hi I had to have a conversation with my mum, but we had talked about what happened when my dad past, it was very simple to get access to my dads account as they had joint ones. The bank automatically got access to my dad’s isa. It was the bank who gave us the idea for poa, as if I was put on my mum’s account I wouldn’t get my universal credit as the money in her account would be classed as mine. My mum is of sound mind and we decided to go a head with it before she becomes ill as that may be to late as it takes a few months to sort out and costs about £80.00 to do. Also you can’t have poa if you have been bankrupt, something which I am not but my brother and sister has so they are not allowed. Is there anybody that can talk to your mum about this, a relative, friend, explain to her that you are worried. It can be upset setting if she is still getting her head round her diagnosis. You can be joint poa with an older relative if your mum thinks your to young to have poa on your own. For my mum having my dad pass away made her realise that something had to be done as you never know what may happen. My dad fell ill in October and passed away in January and as they had joint bank accounts she could get to the money that had been put on one side for the funeral. It still took a couple of months to sort out. I hope this helps. Kay

Hello

Can I ask why you need Lasting Power of Attorney for your mother? She clearly has physical diagnoses, does she also have mental / cognitive issues? If you are aged 20, then I can’t think she would be very old herself, so a POA might be a bit early, unless she is incapable of making either health or financial decisions for herself. (There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, one for Health and Welbeing, the other for Property and Finance. A person may have one or both or these.)

An advance directive on the other hand is a very personal thing. It states personal wishes in case of certain situations. It’s quite unusual for someone else to suggest an advance directive, given that it is all about personal views.

I personally have an advance directive. I decided I wanted my views to be made very clear in any situation where treatment might be needed to keep me alive and I would rather not be. I have sent a copy to my GP, keep a copy with my will and have discussed it with my friends and family. My husband supports my decision, but does not have one for himself.

I don’t have a POA, nor do I think one is needed. I may have long-standing MS, and some cognitive deficits, but at this point I am quite capable of making health and financial decisions for myself.

My husband and his brother have POAs for their mother, who has dementia. In that situation, it’s quite necessary as she no longer has the capacity to make either health and welfare or financial decisions for herself.

If your mother does need someone to have Power of Attorney for her health and welfare and/or property and finance, then you should probably have the discussion together with another person present, preferably someone whom your mother trusts, perhaps another relative? That way it won’t seem as though you are being overzealous in your care for your mother. As Kay suggests, getting another, older, friend or relative involved might make the conversation easier.

By all means you could explain what an Advance Directive is, but it’s something that only a person with good cognitive abilities can or should do.

I wish you the best of luck in arranging things for your mothers wellbeing.

Sue

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