Final Arrangements

Discussing final arrangements with a loved one can be difficult, but it’s best to handle the problem while he or she is still in relatively good health.

A person with AIDS, like every other adult, should have a will. This can be a difficult subject to discuss, but your loved one should prepare a will before his or her mental competence can be questioned. You may want to be sure the person you’re caring for has a will and that you know where it is located.

Living wills, which specify what medical care the person with AIDS wants or does not want, also must be written before mental competence is questioned. You, as the caregiver, may be the person asked to see that the doctors follow your loved one’s wishes. This can be a very difficult experience, but it’s another way of showing respect for a dying person. Future medical care can be controlled through a living will.

Often, people who know that they will die soon choose to make their own funeral or memorial arrangements. This helps ensure that the funeral will be done the way they want it. Plus, it makes things easier for survivors. They no longer have to guess what their friend or loved one would have wanted. You may be asked to help your loved one with AIDS plan the funeral, make arrangements with the funeral home, and select a cemetery plot or mausoleum. You also may be able to help decide whether he or she wishes to be buried or cremated.

After the death, there will still be things to do. Programs that have been providing care for the person with AIDS, such as Supplemental Security Income, will have to be officially informed of the death. Some money already sent or received may have to be returned. The will may name you, a relative, or another person as the one to handle these tasks.

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Adapted from Caring for Someone with AIDS at Home: A Guide, ACTIS Publication No. D817, United States Department of Health and Human Services, AIDS Clinical Trial Information Service.

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