Putting Your Wishes in Writing
Living longerAs we all age and as doctors are able to cure more diseases, we in the Western world aren’t dying as young. We are living longer, sometimes with chronic or fatal diseases. This puts us in a position where we may be alive but may not be mentally capable of deciding on what sort of care we should be receiving.
Loved ones may have to choose for us, often leaving them with many questions about if this is really what we would have wanted.
Advance directivesAdvance directives are important documents that can save much heart ache. These documents can ensure that you get the care that you want and expect, and that you can be allowed to die in peace and dignity when the time comes.
Advance directives take the burden off of your loved ones who may be stressed and unwilling – or unable – to make these important decisions for you.
Also called living wills or DNR ordersAdvance directives are sometimes called living wills or DNR (do not resuscitate) orders. In some places, they may be called a power of attorney. That term, though, differs in different parts of the country and may not mean the same thing where you are. This is important because if you believe that you have a legal document and it is not considered legal in your area, your wishes may not be carried out.
To be sure that your document is legal and actionable in your state or province, it’s best to go to a lawyer and make sure it meets all the requirements of your state or province. Medical and legal people want to be sure that you have made these decisions while you are of sound mind, that what is written is truly what you want, you understand what is written, and that the decisions that you are making are truly your own.