Powers of Attorney

As family members with a physical disability grow into independant adults able to direct their own care, the need for a Power of Attorney tends to be forgotten. But what if something goes wrong with care, or a medical crisis occurs? While independant living and personal choice is clearly everyone’s goal, some situations are challenging for persons with disabilities on their own.

Current privacy laws may result in parents and siblings being completely excluded from any discussion, or even information, on the situation of their adult loved ones. Many disabled persons are reluctant or unable to self-advocate where situations make them vulnerable to choices and advice, even professional advice, from people who do not know them or their disability. Time pressures make the situation worse. For example:

  1. In hospitals, especially emergency rooms or psychiatric wards, parents can be completely frozen out of discussions and decisions about a loved one in crisis.
  2. Daily living preferences and requests like food, housekeeping or scheduling may be overlooked by agency staff or management due to time pressures or staff shortages. It is difficult to self-advocate when one’s personal care needs are involved.
  3. Simply picking up or signing a municipal document, obtaining Provincial forms, or other routine errands are very time consuming and difficult for those with significantly limited mobility.
  4. When more serious issues and disputes arise with agencies over care, a person can be left in an extremely vulnerable position, despite all the agency “dispute resolution” protocols. Be aware that agencies can suspend a person’s care with little if any oversight. “Gaming the system” is a well-known term for an agency building a case against a person in their care.

In all of these situations a Continuing Power of Attorneyfor convenience” can allow a chosen parent or sibling or friend to intercede and assist. Continuing Powers of Attorney, one for Personal Care, and one for Property, can be divided among parents, siblings or friends to make it easier to manage.

A notary public or lawyer can prepare and execute the necessary forms in 15 minutes (see link below) and the executed forms can be kept in reserve for use in emergencies or when requested by the person in care.


Written by Alan and Carole Perks

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