Friends in Action ( http://www.fiaboise.org/) held its first ever caregiver conference here in Boise a little more than a week ago. Event organizers were very pleased with the turnout. And they had every reason to be—the hotel ballroom where the event was held appeared to be at or near capacity. A public response that would seem to confirm what primary care advocates have been saying about the rapid increase in the number of individuals who are providing care for a friend, spouse or other family member.
While the event extended into the early hours of the afternoon, I was most interested in the morning Q and A session where a panel of experts—a caseworker, caregiver, physician, attorney and gerontologist—answered questions from the audience. Overall, I would say that the majority of questions were directed to the attorney.
Caregivers seemed uncertain about the legal documents that might be needed for them to remain effective in their role over time. Their uncertainty was compounded by the fact that laws differ from state to state and people often have to relocate to another state in order to give or receive care. Durable power of attorney, living wills, and guardianship were just some of topics that came up for discussion.
The panel attorney did a great job of fielding questions. She ended the session by emphasizing the importance of consulting with a legal expert. Only by understanding the issues and having the right legal documents at hand, can a caregiver feel confident that they will be able to remain effective in their role for as long as they are needed.
For more information on wills, power of attorney, and other legal documents visit: