Life Becomes More Complicated, a column authored by Attorney Mikael Hooker, is a wealth of information. He covers everything from living wills to nursing home costs. We are happy to provide copies of his articles here.

 

When the time comes, all of us would like to die peacefully in our sleep or perhaps lying next to the ocean shore on a warm summer day. It doesn't always happen that way. In fact, many elders live long past the point where they can lead meaningful, productive and quality lives. None of us wants to live to become so frail that we can no longer manage independently. As you know, however, the reality is that this often happens.

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The 1960s Woodstock generation, who often care for their elderly parents, are now older citizens enrolling in Medicare. Changes in demographics such as the baby boomer bubble, the drop in worker-to- retiree ratios and increased longevity are some of the factors that have created increasingly stringent health care financing frameworks.

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There are a variety of situations where a person is deemed incapable of making decisions because of cognitive impairment. Some professionals use the word "capacity" while others refer to "competence." While some readers might believe that a person is either mentally competent or not, the issue is not that easy. There is actually a spectrum of decisions and/or actions that require varying degrees of competence.

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Life is simple at birth. You have very basic needs, however, your needs beyond food, clothing and shelter become more complex as you age: love, career, hobbies, purpose. At each phase/stage of life your needs evolve.

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