Elder Care

Healthcare Directives

Preparation for A Living Will

If you decide to learn more about this area, you should consider the following questions and begin to make a plan:

  • If I cannot take care of my financial affairs, who should I think about designating to handle these affairs?
  • If I cannot make health decisions about my personal health, who do I feel most comfortable with making these decisions for me?
  • What if some of my relatives may be too young to trust in these situations?
  • At what point do I want these persons whom I designated to take over making these decisions?

Before you continue, you might pause to reflect on the difference between a will and a Living Will. Even if you already have a will, which determines what will happen after your death, a Living Will will be of great help to your family and friends while you are still alive.

Also, you might give some thought to the types of events you may wish to address in your Living Will, including some of the subjects mentioned below. You should frame your inquiry in terms of whether you wish the hospital or medical professions to administer any or all of the following:

  • Artificial Nutrition and/or Hydration
  • Major Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Respiration-Mechanical or Artificial
  • Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Kidney Dialysis
  • Other Organ Transplants
  • Invasive Surgery or Diagnostics Tests
  • Autopsy

While these are not the most pleasant thoughts, the purpose for this information is to enable you to give some thought to these items, when you are clear-thinking and not under the pressure or weight of actually having these things happen to you. Also, you may have a number of other medical-related decisions and ramifications to immerse yourself in should this situation ever present itself to you or your family.

You should give serious consideration to who you wish to designate as the person to handle these decisions for you. Remember, there will be a great responsibility on the part of that person, and these decisions may not be so easy if they ever have to be made. Consider too, that if you designate a person outside your family, that that person might face serious pressure or difficulty from your family members, who may decide they know your wishes best. Such problems can even manifest themselves in lawsuits that place the person you designated in a serious "bind". Be sure to consider these potential conflicts and be fair to the persons you wish to designate in your Living Will.

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