Elder Law: Living until you die

Sister Thea Bowman, a 19th century Black Catholic nun who lived in New Orleans, had a daily prayer that I often find myself repeating: “Lord, let me live until I die.”

Although most people tell me they want to spend their last days at home, in Massachusetts that seldom happens. If this is your goal, then you should plan ahead.

  • What kinds of home modifications (ramps, bathroom adaptations, etc.) would you need if you needed to be in bed a lot? You may want to hire a geriatric care manager to help you figure that out.
  • What will it cost to stay home if you are frail during that last year of your life? Long-term care insurance is often a way to fund this. Otherwise, you could use a HELOC or reverse mortgage.
  • Have you talked to the agents in your health care proxy and power of attorney? Your agents need to be willing and able to act on your behalf and do what you would want, even if you are unable to communicate all that.
  • Is there a MOLST (medical orders for life-sustaining treatment) in place to assure that an EMT does not rush you to the hospital if you really want to stay at home?

I will be discussing “Living Until You Die” in more depth during this month’s elder law virtual seminar, which can be watched on Frank and Mary’s YouTube channel, youtube.com/elderlawfrankandmary. As always, if you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact me at 508-860-1470 or abergeron@mirickoconnell.com.

Arthur Bergeron and Leah Kofos are elder law attorneys in the trusts and estates group at Mirick O’Connell.



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