Conversation Guide for POA

Start the conversation when you and your care recipient are relaxed. Plan to have extra time for this conversation.

Family having conversations

Start the Conversations

Start the conversation when you and your care recipient are relaxed. Plan to have extra time for this conversation.

  • Option 1: “I know we have been talking about your new diagnosis and some of your worries. Do you want to know more about how I can help you make decisions later on?”
  • Option 2: “Have you heard about power of attorney documents before? Can I tell you more about them?”
  • Option 3: “I have some documents that will allow you to choose who you. Would you like me to tell you about them?”

Caregiver Tip

Talking about who YOU would want to make decisions for YOU, and what you want later in life, can make it easier for your care recipient to talk about it.

Provide information

  • “It is a legal document that allows people you trust to help you make decisions.”
  • “You can pick who you want to help you make decisions about healthcare and medical treatments.”
  • “You can ask the same person, or a different person to help with finances and paying the bills.”
  • “Thinking about this right now is a good idea because you’re still able to make these good decisions. You can always change your mind later.”

Support Them to Make Decisions

  • Provide them with plenty of time to make a decision. It may take longer if they have a medical condition impacting how they think or act.
  • Use plain language and avoid legal jargon. Instead of saying “this is a legal power of attorney document for your healthcare” say “this form tells the doctor who you want help from when making decisions about your health”.
  • Use more than one format to provide information. For example, show them a picture or document and talk about it.
  • Help them create a list of pros and cons. Give them extra time to do this step to
    avoid taking over and doing it for them, and make sure it’s their list, not yours.
  • Explain choices and possible outcomes. For example “By completing this
    document, you can have more say over how you live the rest of your life. If you
    choose not to complete this document, it may mean that decisions are made for
    you that you may not have wanted for yourself.”
  • Respect their decision. This can be very hard if you don’t agree with the decision
    they make. As a caregiver, you want to see your care recipient live the best life
    possible. However, you might have differing visions of what the best life looks
    like. By respecting their decision, you’re supporting them to live their own life
    rather than what others might think is best for them.

Additional Resources

  • Two elderly men talking

    Family Arguments About POA

  • Elderly woman on cell phone

    Frauds & Scams: Online & Phone

  • Man looking at tablet

    Future Planning & IDD

  • Two people and a dog riding in a car

    Quick Explanation of Power of Attorney (POA)