No matter who you are and no matter what age, there could come a time when you are incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions for yourself that would be a matter of life or death. If this were to happen, these decisions would be deferred to your loved ones, who might not be aware of your wishes.
Ensuring Your Wishes Are Known
You can prevent the pain of your family having to make medical decisions for you with life care planning. By filling out advanced directives, such as a Living Will and/or a Health Care Power of Attorney, you can let your wishes be known and take away the emotional pressure from your relatives who would need to make decisions for you.
A Living Will allows you to express your wishes about any medical treatment that could delay your death if you were to suffer from a terminal illness or be incapacitated in an irreversible coma or vegetative state. This document provides direction and guidance as to what you would want if you were unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
Power of Attorney
A Durable Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to name a person to act on your behalf if you are no longer able to make health care decisions for yourself. This life care planning document allows you to lay out specific limits as to what extent, like whether you want to be put on life support or be tube fed or not.
If you already have a caregiver or nurse you trust, discuss these legal documents with them. No one wants to talk about death, but taking the time to plan life care with your loved ones makes your world easier in the long run. While seniors are often advised to fill out these forms, you should consider making these choices early in life. Chronic diseases, mental illnesses, and tragic accidents can affect people of all ages.
If you’d like more information about life care planning, consider scheduling one of our Empowering Family Caregiver lectures. Learn more.