Age Scotland’s Power of Attorney Project Officer, Rebecca Dickson, explains how, by drawing up a Power of Attorney, you can retain control and a higher quality of living if you ever become unable to make decisions independently.
Most services within charities, the NHS and businesses are moving towards a more person-centred approach in what they do, so all decisions about you and your life should be guided by your wishes and with your best interests in mind.
A Power of Attorney can help keep you at the centre of those decisions if you become unable to make decisions for yourself.
As part of Age Scotland’s Power of Attorney campaign, we are asking you to think about what it is that makes your life yours. What is important to you? What decisions do you make in your daily life that need to stay the same if you could not make them for yourself? A Power of Attorney should reflect your wishes, lifestyle and beliefs and be personal to you.
A Power of Attorney could include:
- What you eat – perhaps you are a vegetarian or don’t eat certain foods because of your beliefs and you need your Attorney to make sure this is respected;
- Medical decisions – do you feel strongly about certain medical treatments? As well as making your GP aware of this, put it in a Power of Attorney so that your Attorney knows what you think about treatment options;
- How you look – an Attorney with financial powers can use your money to pay a hairdresser or barber to have your hair cut the way you like it on a regular basis.
Attorneys have a responsibility to make decisions according to your best interests and your wishes, as far as is practical. They also need to ensure that your skills and abilities are being used as much as possible. So, if you still have the ability to make some decisions they will support you in doing so, rather than make them for you.
A Power of Attorney should ensure that the quality of your life and the way you live it is not diminished even when your ability to make your decisions has faltered.
It is important to have conversations about what is important to you with people you trust and formalise it in a Power of Attorney so your Attorney can make decisions which enable you to live life to the full.
If you would like more information or advice on Power of Attorney, please call Silver Line Scotland on 0800 4 70 80 90. The information pack is available here or Silver Line Scotland advisers can send you a free copy. If you are interested in having a talk or workshop on Power of Attorney for your group, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.