Don’t Put It Off! Why Everyone Needs an Advance Health Care Directive

A person filling out a form titled Advance Health Care Directive and a pen. Notes: Very shallow focus on the word 'Health". Form created for photo using text in public domain.
An advance health care directive is crucial for everyone to have in place.

Life is often unpredictable. And though an advance health care directive can be easy enough to put off, considering end-of-life choices now can help provide peace of mind that your values and preferences about your medical care will be heard in the future. In addition, it will ease the responsibility of decision-making on your loved ones.

Advance directives consist of these documents:

  • Living will. This written, legal document delineates the types of health treatment methods and life-sustaining measures a patient would or would not prefer, like mechanical breathing (respiration and ventilation), tube feeding or resuscitation.
  • Health care power of attorney (POA). The health care POA is a legal document that designates an individual to make health care choices on the patient’s behalf if the patient is incapacitated. (This is different from a power of attorney authorizing someone to make monetary transactions.) An Authorization to Release Protected Healthcare Information form may also be required.

An advance health care directive offers a definitive statement about your choice to extend your life or to withhold or discontinue treatment, and should be put in place by all adults aged 18 or over; so if you have not yet considered your wishes, there is no better time than the present to identify your preferences and to confirm that they’re clearly and legally spelled out. It’s crucial to note as well that an advance health care directive can be changed at any time if your wishes should ever change.

While you are not required to seek legal advice to prepare an advance health care directive, it may well be a good idea to do so to confirm that the specific instructions for your wishes are reported accurately.

When your loved ones understand your preferences for treatment, they can devote their energy to supplying appropriate care and compassion, without worry over legal matters.

Live Well at Home, providers of the most trusted home care in Lincoln, CA and the surrounding area, is always available to help seniors in any way necessary to ensure their desires are fulfilled, both now and in the future. We offer transportation and accompaniment to legal meetings, along with a full range of professional in-home care services to ensure life is the best it can be.

Whether the need is for help with personal care needs, grocery shopping and other errands, light household chores and meal preparation, specialized care for dementia, or just a friendly companion to talk to and engage in fun activities with, our professional care staff offer as much or as little help as necessary, in accordance with each senior’s unique needs and desired schedule. Contact us at 916-459-3220 to learn more.

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