When we gather with families over the holidays, it is a good time to broach some important topics when it comes to our health and financial security. Starting with health, an important question to ask and answer is “Will you get the kind of care you want if you become seriously ill?” And when it comes to keeping older adults free from financial abuse, a simple conversation may be the best defense.
What is an advance directive?
An advance directive is a legal document that goes into effect when an individual can no longer make or communicate decisions. It allows individuals to express preferences for health care, including end-of-life care and may be revised as circumstances or diagnoses change.The two major types of advance directives are:
- Health Care Power of Attorney – This document enables one to name another person to serve as his or her “health care agent.” A health care agent is authorized to make health care decisions if one is not able to make or communicate those decisions oneself.
- Living Will – This document describes an individual’s preferences regarding health care for certain medical conditions.
To help you understand more and to help you get these documents in place, the North Carolina Serious Illness Coalition has helpful information and instructional videos at www.ncsicoalition.org
Protect your loved ones from financial abuse
Federal data suggest that losses from elder financial abuse perpetrated by a known person are greater than when the fraud is perpetrated by anonymous scammers.
You might bring up the topic of financial exploitation and segue into asking what your older relatives and loved ones are doing to protect themselves and their money. Above all, respect their right to make their own decisions while they are cognitively able, but leave the lines of communication open.
Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all. Learn how to proactively spot scams or get guidance if you’ve been targeted. Visit www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork
or call our dedicated helpline to speak to a fraud specialist at 1-877-908-3360.
You can learn more about these topics by joining us at a number of local events throughout the year. Lean more about events in North Carolina and right here in the Coastal Region at www.states.aarp.org/NC
On behalf of AARP North Carolina, I also want to wish you and your loved ones a safe and healthy new year!
Rosalie L. Calarco, a 17-year veteran of constituent services and advocacy under two federal officeholders, is the State Director for its Coastal Region, where she will work with AARP members in diverse populations across age, gender, socioeconomic status, culture, and ethnicity. Her service area will include 33 coastal and other counties in northeastern, eastern, and southeastern North Carolina.
Since 2004, Calarco has served in various roles of constituent services for federal elected officials from North Carolina. As Director of Veterans Services for former U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre, she represented veterans and other constituents in interactions with the Veterans Administration, Medicare, and the Social Security Administration, and she developed national and local grant applications to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on behalf of local municipalities in McIntyre’s district. Most recently, as Senior Constituent Advocate and Office Manager for U.S. Senator Richard Burr, Calarco provided similar services to constituents across North Carolina, while also managing casework for Burr’s appointments to Senate committees and subcommittees overseeing Education, Banking and Mortgage, Housing, Medicare, the Military, the U.S. Department of State, Tricare, and Veterans Affairs. Prior to these appointments, Calarco earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC-W), and the University of Georgia at Athens. She began a career in social work and has maintained professional ties while rising to hold multiple offices in the North Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Since 2005, she has served intermittently as Field Supervisor for the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work programs at UNC-W.