When your health is in an excellent state, it’s not easy to think that you can lose the ability to take care of yourself. However, as you age and your health changes, you may lose the capacity to make medical decisions. Thankfully, with advanced directives, you can plan ahead to make sure health care providers respect your decisions. Read on to learn more.
What do “advanced directives” mean?
Just like other wills & estates documents, advanced directives are legal documents that express your wishes in case you lose your ability to make sound decisions in the future. The only difference between wills & estates and advanced directives is that advanced directives include instructions regarding your health care preferences should you become unable to make decisions on your own.
Who is a health care proxy?
A health care proxy is someone you name in your advanced directive to make decisions on your behalf regarding your health care, such as desired treatment options or end-of-life care. You can name one or more proxies in your advanced directive.
What other elements should you include?
In addition to naming a health care proxy, you can also include your wishes for life-sustaining treatments and other requests. For example, if you have strong feelings about being on or off of life support, wearing hearing aids, or using feeding tubes, these are all items that you should include in your advanced directive.
When should you make an advanced directive?
You should make an advanced directive when you are healthy and of sound mind. In other words, you can’t make a valid advance directive unless you have the capacity to understand that what’s in it will affect your health care options later on.
Regardless of the current state of your health, it’s important that you give some thought to what should happen if something goes wrong. With wills and advanced directives, you can make sure your voice gets heard even when you no longer have the ability to speak for yourself.