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Why healthcare directives aren’t just for seniors

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2024 | Estate Planning & Probate

Thinking about healthcare can be daunting, especially when it comes to situations where you might not be able to make decisions for yourself. But here’s the good news: it’s never too early to establish healthcare directives.

These documents, also known as advance directives, give you a powerful voice in shaping your medical care in the event of an accident or illness wherein you can’t communicate your wishes in the moment.

Why healthcare directives matter at any age

You might think healthcare directives are only relevant for older adults, but that’s a misconception. Accidents and serious illnesses can strike at any age. Having a healthcare directive in place can help ensure your wishes are known. This can significantly reduce stress and burden on your loved ones during a difficult time.

Knowing your healthcare wishes are documented can provide a sense of control and reduce anxiety for you and your family. Moreover, directives can eliminate confusion and potential disagreements amongst loved ones regarding your medical care. Most importantly, they can help ensure your medical care aligns with your values and beliefs, regardless of your ability to communicate them.

What healthcare directives cover

Healthcare directives typically encompass two main components: a living will and a healthcare power of attorney. On one hand, a living will can empower you to outline your wishes for treatment decisions in situations where you’re terminally ill or in a permanently unconscious state. You can specify preferences regarding:

  • Life support
  • Artificial hydration and nutrition
  • Pain management

On the other hand, a healthcare power of attorney allows you to appoint a trusted individual (your agent) to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated.

Empowering yourself through healthcare directives can serve as a gift to yourself and your loved ones. It fosters open communication, reduces stress and helps to ensure that your healthcare aligns with your values.