April 16, 2022 is National Healthcare Decision Day. You may be thinking, “Why does this matter?” The simple answer is because your voice is important. The more complicated answer is, it’s a gift to your loved ones. A Living Will is a legal document that spells out your medical treatment wishes at the end of your life. This is not to be confused with a Medical Power of Attorney, Living Wills are a separate legal document that outlines your words and wishes when you no longer can speak for yourself.
Many people are confused by all the different terms that are thrown their way. How many doctor and hospital visits do you attend where they ask if you have an Advanced Directive? Some many ask who your health care proxy or advocate is. The interchangeable nature of these terms and the lack of understanding the difference causes confusion to many.
The Living Will document is available to everyone over 18, but according to the 2021 Gallop poll, less than half of American’s have a living will. Most people find this document the hardest to complete when planning their future and aging successfully. Words such as ‘refusal of treatment’, ‘permanently unconscious’ and ‘life sustaining treatment’ intimidate the best of us. We’re here to help walk you through this process and shift your perspective.
A Living Will may be intimidating, but it can also be viewed as a gift to your future self and your loved ones. Whether you have a large family or are an aging single, there are options to ensure your wishes are fulfilled. By looking at the future and putting your wishes into a legal document, you can save your loved ones a great deal of heartache. If you are at the end of your life and family must make medical decisions about sustaining your life, medication intervention and supporting you in your last days because you are unable to express your desires this can bring a great deal of conflict and guilt. On the other hand, if you plan ahead to successfully age and complete a Living Will and share your desires with your loved ones, you are taking the responsibility away from them. They are no longer making the decision; they are honoring your wishes. When end of life comes, it is already an emotionally charged situation, why not give the gift of your voice to your loved ones.
Knowing this is a difficult topic to discuss, The Conversation Project has an easy guide “Your Conversation Starter Guide”. This should help focus on your wishes, medically and emotionally while also helping you come to terms with who you feel would best honor your wishes. Click to access The Conversation Project.
Through the years, we have completed many Living Wills at Bucks County Elder Law and we will continue, but it is up to you to make this a priority in your life. It is time to give the gift of your voice to your loved ones. There is no better time than now as a celebration to your life and National Healthcare Decision Day. Give us a call and we can help you through the steps of Life Care Planning and setting your wishes into motion. Call 215-493-0727 for your complementary, no-obligation consultation.
Spring 2022 Certification in Elder Care Coordination Class Project in Commemoration of National Healthcare Decision Day