Addressing Living Wills and Advance Directives

Addressing Living Wills and Advance Directives

Wills are not the easiest topic, but very necessary and beneficial to have.  Living wills and other advance directives are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Advance directives guide choices for doctors and caregivers if you’re terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life.

When you plan ahead you are ensuring you get the care you want, and avoid unnecessary suffering and relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during moments of crisis or grief. You also help reduce confusion or disagreement about the choices you would want people to make on your behalf.

A medical or health care power of attorney is a type of advance directive in which you name a person to make decisions for you when you are unable to do so. In some states this directive could also be called a durable power of attorney for health care or a health care proxy.

The person you name could be a spouse, family member, friend or member of a faith community. You may also choose one or more alternates in case the person you chose is unable to fulfill his or her role.

Choosing a person to act as your health care agent is extremely important. Even if you have other legal documents regarding your care, not all situations can be anticipated and some situations will require someone to make a judgment about your likely care wishes. You want to choose a person who meets the following criteria:

•Meets your state’s requirements for a health care agent

•Is not your doctor or a part of your medical care team

•Is willing and able to discuss medical care and end-of-life issues with you

•Can be trusted to make decisions that adhere to your wishes and values

•Can be trusted to be your advocate if there are disagreements about your care

REMEMBER: If the senior gets dementia without this in place, it is going to be very difficult to get it because the states consider them in competent to make a clear sound decision.

Adult Care Pro can make a few recommendations if you have more questions regarding this topic.


Written By: Tanja Powers, Senior Care Advisor, Adult Care

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