You know which “talk,” right? No. Not the “birds and the bees,” talk. It’s probably a little late for that anyway. The “talk” you should be having now may make you just as nervous, though. It’s time to start planning what kind of care you’d like in your later years, and it’s important to make your wishes known to your loved ones.
Planning and preparing for what may happen later is commonly referred to as Advance Care Planning. Doing this type of planning now may feel a little uncomfortable, but it is an important way to ensure peace of mind for you and the people that care about you.
Advance Care Planning explained
What exactly does Advance Care Planning cover? In a nutshell, it lets your family, and others know how you would like to be cared for if you become seriously ill or injured and, in some cases, unable to speak for yourself.
For example, what if you were in a serious accident that left you in a coma and the doctors said they do not expect you to wake up? Have you thought about what you want your family and medical professionals to do?
Imagine being diagnosed with an incurable illness. Would you want treatment if that could manage your condition for a while, or would you choose not to have treatment? Would your answer change if the treatment caused you to endure a life with pain or severely limited mobility?
Luckily, and legally, anyone 18 years and older can decide these things in advance by filling out an Advance Health Care Directive. On this form, you can designate who you would want to speak Over on your behalf if you become unable to speak for yourself. It also encourages you to consider various scenarios that could happen to anyone, what your health care choices would then be, and how you would want your values prioritized.
Make sure everyone knows your wishes
These are complicated decisions. That’s why it’s important to have “the talk” with your loved ones, the person you’ve designated as your Health Care Agent, and your primary health care provider. Once you’ve completed an Advance Health Care Directive provide them with a copy or let them know where to locate it, if necessary. Your primary health care provider can keep a copy in your file, and you can keep a card or note in your wallet that indicates that you have an Advance Health Care Directive along with the names and phone numbers of those with copies.
Advance Care Planning and completing an Advance Health Care Directive may seem like a task you’d rather not perform now, but it is important to have a legal record of your medical decisions, so you receive the care you want and that your wishes are respected.