Have you heard of advance directives or a living will? Have you been “meaning to” get around to doing it? Maybe you have talked to the people you love about it but haven’t put anything in writing? As the saying goes “there is no time like the present” to take action and make your end of life wishes known.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Living wills and other advance directives are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Advance directives guide choices for doctors and caregivers if you’re terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life.”
Advance Directives include 2 important components; a living will and a medical durable power of attorney. Recently, I attended a talk by a company who has just launched an initiative called “Letting Go with Dignity”. They have a website full of amazing resources to help everyone plan for the end of life.
This is an excellent TED talk about the subject and it is only 6 minutes long.
Take the Fear out of Advance Directives!
In the spring, my friends and I had a “Zombie Living Will Party”. Basically, we all dressed up like zombies and had had a lawyer talk to us about advance directives, living wills and medical power of attorney. Fortunately, the lawyer (Leah) is a close friend and a good sport. Most of us took the opportunity to complete our documents at this time. What none of us did, however, was give signed copies of these documents to the people that need them. My documentation sat in a drawer at my house to be officially useless.
Laws about living wills and advance directives differ from state to state so it is important to find the appropriate resources in your state. Compassion and Choices offers a link to the laws in every state.
Take control of your life in the here and now to help preserve your wishes in the future. It’s much easier than you think!