Advance Directives. Durable Power of Attorney.Living Wills. "End of Life" Decisions.what does this all mean? Who really wants to think about this stuff? We don't want to think about dying, and as independent people, we certainly don't want to think about ever being unable to make decisions for ourselves!
But, do you know what? We're all going to die sometime - and for some of us death will come unexpectedly. Whether we're young and healthy, older, with or without a chronic illness, we all owe it to ourselves - and our loved ones - to make some very important decisions about the care we would receive if we would ever be unable to speak for ourselves. And the time to make those decisions is now, when we are of sound mind, able to communicate, and capable of weighing all our options.
So, what does "Advance Directives" actually mean? Well, in this case, "Advance" means doing it ahead of time. "Directives" mean that you are directing a person what to do. It really is that simple!
But, what in the world should be done in certain situations, and how does a person decide???
Well, for some of us, "life" means being independent, getting around, going fishing, talking with our loved ones. you know, doing things and taking care of ourselves. But, for some of us, as long as there is just a bit of life and breath, no matter how much care is required, that is "life." There is no right or wrong when it comes to this - that is, when a person decides for his or herself.
The most important thing of all is this.Nobody but you should make a decision - or have to make a decision - regarding what "life" means to you. And that is why it is so important to think about it now, talk about it with your loved ones, and write it down. Do it soon, get it over with, and then get on with living your life!
As someone who worked for over twenty years with critical patients on life support, I can tell you without a doubt that all too often people who end up as very sick patients have avoided making decisions for themselves and writing them down. This leaves family members to impose their own wishes upon a suffering loved one or even guess what that person would want. In this situation, everybody suffers - the patient, the loved ones, and even hospital or care center staff, feeling really badly that clear-cut decisions were not made ahead of time - or most importantly -made known and written down.
Every human being deserves to live and die with dignity! Please take some time now to learn what you can do about the decisions that may need to be made when you and your loved ones might be unable to speak for yourselves. Then, make sure your wishes are written down and copies are given to your loved ones, your doctor, your local hospital or care facility, and maybe a lawyer if you want to do that. Ask your doctor or hospital staff about filling out the paperwork for Advance Directives . They have the forms, and can help you understand the process.
Here are some links to information about Advance Directives.
General explanations: http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/aha/umadvdir.htm
General information: http://seniors-site.com/legalm/refuse.html
Basic requirements of each State in the USA:
© Copyright 2005, Jan e M. Martin - http://www.breathingbetterlivingwell.com
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