Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Elder Abuse, Power of Attorney/Substitute Decision making.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

After speaking this morning to a caring daughter I felt compelled to write about the abuse of power by people who are designated as the power of attorney/substitute decision maker.

We often receive calls or emails from friends or family members of a competent person who is being pressured or controlled by the power of attorney/substitute decision maker.

This morning I spoke to a caring daughter who told me her brother, who is the power of attorney, is preventing her from visiting her mother and refused to release money, from her mother's bank account, to pay for her mother's prescription glasses. The mother is elderly but she remains competent to make decisions for herself.

The daughter said that her mother is afraid of her son. This is a serious problem and a form of elder abuse.

I received a call, a few weeks ago, from a daughter, whose mother was living with ALS. Her mother wanted a life-preserving medical intervention, but the hospital was refusing. The hospital abused her mother's rights by pressuring the "power of attorney" to refuse treatment, even though the mother was competent.

It must be stated that this type of abuse has also been expressed by disability advocates.


Family, friends, medical institutions, nursing homes, etc., should know that it is a form of elder abuse to ignore the rights of people who are elderly or living with a disability.  Just because someone has difficulty communicating doesn't mean that they are incompetent.

Elder and disability abuse is a scourge on the culture. 

Now that euthanasia and assisted suicide have become legal in Canada, the attorney for personal care may assume the "right to decide" if the person lives or dies. 

Order the Life Protecting Power of Attorney for Personal Care for $10 by contacting the EPC office at: 1-877-439-3348 or info@epcc.ca.

What do you need to know:
  • The person who you designate as your power of attorney or substitute decision maker only has the right to make decisions,  on your behalf, when you are deemed incompetent.
  • When you are competent, you can sign a new representation agreement (power of attorney) at any time, so long you sign it and have it witnessed by unrelated persons.
  • You are considered competent until you have been declared incompetent.
  • The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition distributes the Life Protecting Power of Attorney for Personal Care for $10. This legal document will protect you.
Order the Life Protecting Power of Attorney for Personal Care for $10 by contacting the EPC office at: 1-877-439-3348 or info@epcc.ca.

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