What is the best advice when a parent does not have health care directives?

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My mom is 89 and in very good health. She has a will, of which my two sisters and I are co-executrices, and we each have Durable POA and Healthcare POA. My mother, however, did not specify what end-of-life measures she would like. My siblings and I have issues with caregiving (driving, chores, etc.) already, so I would imagine that these will only get worse. Does anyone have any advice or has anyone been through a similar situation? I can't imagine being in a position of trying to decide on, let alone agree on, what to do for mother when she cannot make decisions for herself.

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There is a form call POLST-Physican Ordered Life Substaining Treatment. Google it and you may want Mom, you and Dr sign it. Very impt to have if you call in EMR.
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Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful responses. I shall try to summon my courage to bring this up with Mom. I'm so grateful when she's in a good mood that I hate to ruin it -- and, needless to say, the down or bad moods are not my idea of conversational happiness either!
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My husband and I have recently worked out our Advance Directives. He's 60 and I'm 63. He had a hemorrhagic stroke end of November 2011 and is doing very well now but still recovering. All we need to do now is to get the advance directives witnessed because our state does not require notaries. Luckily dementia is not a part of our picture.

We've designated alternate powers of attorney and health care proxies in case I can't serve. My husband has correctly observed that while I would know his exact wishes, our alternate, a much-loved family member, might not, so the advance directive will be of vital importance.
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I disagree with VW. A stroke, whether ischemic or hemorragic, does not mean the end-of-life. One can live well having had a "brain attack"....ischemic stroke.
Use your left hand, walk with a walker, have someone read to you,. and try to be happy. It ain't over 'til it's over.
p.s. a DNR is a very important document......not to be taken lightly. One should not sign this unless it is fully understood. It is not applicable to someone who has had an ischemic stroke unless other factors are present.
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Take a pad and pen. Ask your mother exactly what she would like to have performed on her, should she 1) have a stroke, 2) have an heart attack. 3) become permanently disabled, 4) become incapable of thinking clearly.\
She needs a Durable POA, a Financial and Healthcare POA. She has a will, and that will kick in when she passes.
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Yes! Talk with your mom while she is still able to competently express her feelings and desires. Don't wait!
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I wrote "no gavage" and "no pacemaker" on mine. Ask her about these things.
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Thank goodness my mom does have a living will and dnr, personally my advice at that age if someone should come up would be to keep her drugged enough to be comfortable until she passes on and is with our Lord in Heaven, will keep all in my prayers
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I have to agree with vw. Have this talk with your mom immediately. You never know what may happen in the future and if you anticipate problems with your sibling it's best to get things out in the open now before there's an issue.

My dad had a DNR. I was his healthcare advocate. He had some dementia and took back everything he had ever told me in the past, everything he had put down on paper. My sick, dying 80-year-old father told me that he wanted to remain alive on a ventilator indefinitely. He wanted his heart shocked back into rhythm, the whole 9 yards. He didn't know what he was saying and thank God he had told me and my brother over the years that he would never want to live like that. Back then, we had no idea that my dad would lose his mind and go around yapping about wanting to be on a vent. I had to step in as his Healthcare Directive and make decisions because it was obvious he could no longer make his own healthcare decisions.

Don't put this off. It must be discussed.
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Since she is in very good health, it's best that you and your sisters should talk to her about it right away. It's a hard, but necessary, talk. You should explain to her that you and your sisters want to take the best care of her as possible and do what she wants, therefore, all of you need to know in more detail what she wants done and how far to go with keeping her alive - should it come to that. In some states, if she does not have a signed "Do Not Rescuscitate" or "DNR" and she were to have a stroke, they will keep her alive by whatever means possible - meaning she could be brain-dead, but her body is still okay - so they will keep her on a breathing machine until she expires. To me, that's not living - but everybody has their own choice to make regarding that. No one ever wants to talk about death, but this is definitely something best not left up to the children to decide. Not only is it not fair to the children, but there will be differences in opinions when all everyone really should be concerned with is what their parent wants done. Please don't put this off any longer. Good luck!!
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