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A Time for Seniors: Look for the right legal form to let health wishes be known

By: Candace Roeder
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Dear Candace: I recently read your article in the Auburn Journal regarding “Advanced Care Directives” and wanted to offer a comment. You might want to know that the term “advanced care directives” is a generic term for all such documents, rather than something specific to California. In this state, we refer to such documents as “Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care Decisions,” the form of which is a creation of the California Medical Association and the State Bar. Actually, the current form of the DPAHC is actually found legislation passed by the Assembly and Senate.  We do not favor forms that are provided by organizations such as hospitals, etc., since they do not conform to state law. Also, many of the forms in circulation are way, way outdated — but people just don’t think about changes in the law that may have occurred! The current California form of Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions is much better, much more comprehensive than any we’ve had since I started practicing 20 years ago. I’d be happy to show you the differences! — Ann, Law Offices of Armstrong and Associates Ann: Thank you for the information! Dear Candace: I understand that you talked about the transition to digital TV in your last column. Some of my friends said it was very informative, however, somehow I guess I missed it, sorry, I try to read your column without fail (looks like I can’t say that anymore). My request is for you to reprint that column and maybe you can address what those of us who cannot afford this “transition” can do. — PJ Dear PJ: Don’t forget even though the TV Converter Box Coupon Program has sent out its quota of converter box discount coupons, people should still apply. You will be put on a waiting list and it isn’t likely you will receive a coupon before Feb. 17. Apply online at www.dtv2009.gov, by phone at (888) 388-2009 or by mail at P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000. Happy to reprint the article, it is on the mind of many people. We have heard from some who say they cannot afford the conversion. I cannot make any promises; however, we are seeking a remedy for those individuals. Again, the problem is not solved at the time of this writing, however, check in with Marty at Seniors First, (530) 889-9500 ext. 215, to see if she might be able to help. Here you go: On Feb. 17, 2009 the way television is currently broadcast will change from the way it is today to a new format — a digital format. (Editor’s note: Legislation passed last week and is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama to delay the final digital conversion deadline to June 12, although some broadcasters may decide to stop using analog airwaves on Feb. 17, according to dtv.gov). What that means to you and me is simply if your television set is connected to an antenna (either on your roof or through “rabbit ears” sitting on your TV) you are one of the viewers who will need to do one of the following in order to keep your TV set working after the transition: — Connect your analog TV (antenna connected) to a converter box that will get digital reception; — Subscribe to a paid service like cable or satellite; or Buy a TV with a built-in digital tuner — If you already subscribe to a paid service like cable or satellite, again, you need to do nothing, you’re set. If not, you may purchase a converter box locally at any of the following retailers: Fowlers TV in Auburn Best Buy Kmart Radio Shack Target Sears Converter boxes run $50 to $70 (our research has shown Kmart to be the least expensive). Once you purchase the converter box it will need to be installed. Many of the retailers who sell it will also install it for an additional fee ranging from $60 to $100. If you need assistance with the installation, Seniors First will install the converter box for a $60 contribution; simply call Marty at (530) 889-9500 ext. 215 or 1-800-878-9222 ext. 215 to schedule an appointment. If you are still confused, please call us at (530) 889-9500 x 216. Candace Roeder the Executive Director of Seniors First, a nonprofit senior services agency serving Placer County. Mail your senior-related questions to: A Time For Seniors, c/o Seniors First, 11566 D Ave., Auburn, CA, 95603, email them to candace@seniorsfirst.org or call (530) 889-9500 ext. 203. Please include your name and phone number with your questions.