Forced Into a Nursing Home Against Your Will – Prevent
This Nightmare From Ever Happening to You
It’s every aging person’s worst nightmare.
Something happens. A change in your health. A fall. An illness. A loss of mobility.
Suddenly doctors and family members are talking about nursing homes. And no one seems to take any note of your thoughts on the matter.
You may wonder … can anyone force you to go to a nursing home if you don’t want to?
Unfortunately, under certain circumstances, the answer is yes.
If you’re determined to lack the capacity to make decisions, then the person holding your Power of Attorney can put you in a nursing home. If you haven’t assigned Power of Attorney, it will be assigned for you by the court system — usually to someone from your family. If you don’t have family to take on that role, a lawyer will be assigned the task. He’ll recommend whatever your doctor or hospital recommends. It won’t matter what your wishes are.
But don’t worry. You can take action now to stop this nightmare scenario before it ever starts.
Who Can Say You Lack Capacity?
Obviously, the first key to preventing this kind of horror from happening is to not be found to lack the capacity to make your own decisions.
This is the scary part. Any licensed physician can make the decision that you lack capacity. She just has to do an assessment based on state standards to prove that you lack capacity.
In about 15 percent of cases, the physician will call in a psychiatrist to help determine the outcome of the assessment.
The most common reason for a doctor to question your capacity is when you choose not to pursue her recommended course of treatment.
So what do you do? Do you just follow along in lock step with your doctor’s every suggestion? What if she suggests you move to a nursing home?
I have a better way. The first thing to do is find a doctor you like—preferably a concierge doctor. See her regularly. Once or twice a year, minimum. Build a relationship. Get to know her. Allow her to get to know you.
Doctors are people, too. A doctor is much less likely to challenge the capacity of someone she knows well than that of a complete stranger.
The second thing you need to do involves that second key factor I mentioned just a bit ago. You need to assign Power of Attorney to someone you trust. Someone you know wants to see your decisions and wishes respected.
Figure out who that person is and grant him Power of Attorney should a doctor ever determine you lack capacity.
Don’t be scared by this. You’re choosing someone you trust. And his Power of Attorney doesn’t kick in as long as your capacity to make decisions is recognized.
Let this person know, in writing, your desires about the kind of care you want to receive should you become ill, your thoughts on living in a nursing home versus receiving care at home, and your feelings about heroic efforts to revive you if and when that moment comes about.
A good doctor you trust and a good Power of Attorney you trust … that’s the formula for getting healthcare that meets your wishes … and for staying out of nursing homes.
Investing in Your
Retirement and Your Future
But don’t stop there.
I have one more way you can protect yourself from being shuffled off into a nursing or retirement home before you’re ready. It has to do with where you choose to live.
Look around your house. If your mobility decreases as you age, will it still accommodate you? If your loved ones think that it isn’t safe, that’s when the “retirement home” conversation is likely to come up.
Think about your neighborhood. Are you close to medical services? Is there plenty to do nearby to help you stay physically fit and socially engaged?
If your current home is not an ideal place for you to live as you age, consider buying a second home. A weekend home for now, but one that you would enjoy moving to when you retire. According to MarketWatch, there’s been a 60% increase in this kind of purchase, so you’ll be in good company.
For this purpose, an ideal second residence should …
- Be in a climate you enjoy and can continue to enjoy as you age.
- Have an open floor plan with wide halls and doorways.
- Not have stairs leading to or from the exits.
- Have a main-floor bedroom if it’s a two-story home.
- Have at least one walk-in shower.
- Have medical services close by.
- Provide easy access to activities you enjoy.
- Not bury you under an expensive mortgage – if this is a long-term plan, you might rent the home until you plan to move into it.
Keep these criteria in mind when looking for a second home. You’ll be more likely to find a place that you’ll enjoy vacationing at right now and that you’ll find very livable when you move there upon retirement.
Taking critical steps now while they are still easy to manage can make your later years a happy, healthy, active time. And that’s the mindset you need to be ready for anything … even retirement.
P.S. No matter where you live, your home isn’t as secure as it could be if you don’t have certain, critical items on hand … things that could save your life in case of an emergency. Find out what those items are when you click here.