Advance Directives: Plan now for what you want in the future

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Planning in advance is something that can be tempting to put off! Planning now for the care you want in the future is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and those you love. Not only will early planning ease your personal stress, but it will also ease the burden on your loved ones as well.

Who do you want to make decisions about your care if you are no longer able to do so? Take an active role now in planning your end of life care! Doing so can help ensure that your loved ones and health care providers will honor your wishes about your care.

The best way to make your wishes known is by completing an advance directive.

Advance Directive documents include a Living Will or a Medical Power of Attorney. This is a legal document that directs your care if you're unable to do so or you can't communicate your decisions. By using these documents, you have the control over the things that are important to you. Under your direction, these documents explain the kind of treatment you would like as well as what treatment you do not want.

Advance directives give you the power to determine what happens to you, even if you can't speak for yourself, and provides your family, friends, and doctors with the vital information needed for your care.

Take an active role in your health care planning today by completing an advance directive now before a crisis happens!

Once you have completed an advance directive, store it in a safe place. Make sure your loved ones know where it is. Ask your doctor to keep a copy in your medical chart. Also make sure you talk about your decisions with the person you have asked to make those decisions for you in case you are not able to do so.

Five Wishes is an advance directive document that speaks to your desires and is honored in nearly all states. Five Wishes is also available in over 24 languages. If you would like the document, you can visit the Aging with Dignity website www.agingwithdignity.org to obtain more information.

General Advance Directives are also available through a national organization, Caring Connections. Visit their Web site at www.caringinfo.org for more information and forms

Author: Alsgaard & Cindy Hommer

Disclaimer: The information about educational or therapeutic approaches is provided for educational purposes only. Certain treatments may or may not be covered through your benefit plan. Coverage typically depends on your plan specifications and relevant guidelines maintained in relation to your benefit plan.

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