How to Keep Control of Your Life After 50: A Guide for Your Legal, Medical, and Financial Well-Being. Myers TS, Lexington, Ma, Lexington Books, 1990, 428 pages, softcover, $17.95.
This is the book to read before you or someone you love becomes ill or dies. We have all either experienced or know of someone who did not know what to do in a health crisis and then suffered the consequences of a lack of planning and lack of knowledge. Although the intended authence is people who are nearing senior citizen age, the book is packed with information for those who may be assisting them with future legal, medical, and financial plans.
The book is divided into four parts. The first includes chapters on creating wills, trusts, and joint accounts; purchasing Medicare supplemental or long-term care insurance; paying for nursing home care; writing living wills; legal Iy protecting decisions made by those who no longer can speak for themselves; and obtaining a guardian and power of attorney.
The second part provides information on maintaining control of treatment and care while a patient is in a hospital or nursing home, choosing a physician and hospital, patient rights, what to do if the patient is discharged too early, resources to pursue if there is a problem or complaint, and Medicare and Medicaid.
In the third part, information is provided that family or friends may use when having to make decisions for the person who no longer can. It contains chapters on mental competence and incompetence; when, if, and how to use guardians and conservators; how to assign social security payments to a third party; and the legal, ethical, or moral limits that may be placed on decisions being made.
The final part contains details on using the media and local, state, and national advocacy groups and elected officials as other options to help resolve a problem. The book concludes with an appendix that contains a wealth of resources on organizations, sample legal forms, state laws, and recommended books and videos. Although the book is written in a language that is easily understood by those in the medical, legal, and financial professions, a glossary was also included.
The author admits that the book may not have all the answers, "but tt does provide the basic information necessary to fight a problem, find an answer, and know where to go for further help." Indeed, it is highly recommended for nurses who are interested in either helping themselves or other persons, whether they are our patients or our parents, in making plans for a better quality of life.