Advanced Directives for Older Adults

Q.  “We want to discuss our wishes about what we want if we get sick or hurt and have to go into a hospital, nursing home, or worse.”

A. This might be difficult for you to do, or your children to hear. People often don’t understand the importance of advanced directives, or even understand what they are. Maybe you’ve heard about them, but when trying to fill them out, it’s confusing. Sit down and go over these forms with someone you trust. If you have concerns as to who might be the best choice for being your agents, begin the conversations, it will ease your concerns.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you understand the purposes of these two documents? Health Care Directives and Durable Power of Attorney?
  • What concerns do you have about the documents?
  • Are you confident you can fill them out, properly?
  • How will it help you, and your loved ones, if these documents were completed?
  • What can be done to help alleviate any concerns you and your family might have about how you wish to be treated and cared for if you fall ill?

Helpful Tips: Get copies of the forms – instructions and explanations – and look them over. What do you understand and what is confusing? One idea is to sit down, talk with children (or trusted friend) and work on these forms, together. parents and your own family.

One advantage of doing this together is that you may better understand your concerns and those of your family. You can find free, or low cost, Health Care Directives from your state, or ones such as Five Wishes.


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