Coronavirus and Senior Patient Health Care Directives

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

Officially deemed a “pandemic,” COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has caused a wave of anxiety to pass over the U.S. and the world. While mild cases of coronavirus seem to resemble a bad cold, the flu, or some other type of respiratory illness that tends to circulate around this time of year, more severe cases can mean chest pains and pneumonia. Mild cases will present symptoms such as cough, fever, and shortness of breath. It is becoming apparent, however, that more vulnerable populations can develop more severe symptoms that may ultimately prove fatal. One such vulnerable population are those 65 years of age and older, especially those located in areas where cases of COVID-19 have already been reported.

In this time of uncertainty, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Stay vigilant in what is being recommended by your local public health department. Maintain an adequate supply of necessary household supplies as well as routine medications. Have a serious talk with your senior parents about putting health care directives in place.

Growing Coronavirus Threat Heightens the Need for Senior Parents to Put Health Care Directives in Place

Those people of advanced years appear to be nearly twice as likely to develop a serious, as opposed to a mild, case should the coronavirus be contracted. With age comes a weakening of the immune system. This means that the body is not as prepared to fight off disease and infection as it used to. With the coronavirus threat growing and spreading in the U.S., it is important to prepare for the case where you or a loved one may become incapacitated and unable to communicate their health care wishes. This means that it is time to sit your senior parents down and discuss health care directives.

Having health care directives in place is important for everyone. Even young people and people in good health should have health care directives. This is because sudden illness and unforeseen accidents happen every day. A health care directive is a legal document that lets others know about your health care wishes in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to communicate this information on your own. In the directives, you have the ability to appoint an agent who will be empowered to make health care decisions on your behalf should the need arise.

You may also outline the specifics of the types of medical care you wish to receive. Health care directives can be as general or as specific as you would like. The more information you can provide in your directives, the better it will be for your loved ones. It will not only save your loved ones from having to guess at what you would have wanted, but it will ensure that your own wishes are honored.

In a health care directive, you can detail:

  • Your values and preferences regarding the health care you wish to receive
  • The types of medical treatment you want or do not want
  • Where you wish to receive medical care
  • Your wishes regarding end of life care
  • Your wishes regarding receiving artificial nutrition and hydration
  • Funeral arrangements

Health Care Directive Attorney

The spread of the coronavirus and the tragic stories that are coming out in the news about the more severe cases reminds us now, more than ever, that life is all too fragile. Talk to the senior loved ones in your life about the importance of health care directives. You will find dedicated legal counsel at Unique Estate Law ready to help you put these critical legal documents in place. Contact Unique Estate Law today.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.