No one wants to think about death. However, dying is part of life. As such, it requires planning and focus. Without an end-of-life plan in place, your loved ones and medical professionals will not know your preferences or wishes as it relates to your last days.
At AgeWell Medical Associates, PC, in Colorado Springs, we provide this much needed service to all our established patients. Our experienced and knowledgeable team will guide you and your loved one through the process of constructing a legally binding end-of-life plan, which will ensure all your preferences are followed.
We proudly provide not only vital medical care to aging adults, but also ensure our established patients have end-of-life plans in place. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment:
Keep reading for answers to common questions about end-of-life planning …
What Is End-of-Life Planning?
Although it does include what happens to your possessions after death, end-of-life planning is much more than a road map for your family and friends to follow once you have passed away. It can also include instructions on how you want your last days to be handled while you are still alive.
What Does End-of-Life Planning Include?
The following are some crucial elements of any end-of-life plan:
- An Advanced Directive, Choose an Advocate: One aspect of end of life planning is choosing a care advocate. This person will be the go-to person for coordinating your care, arranging services and ensuring your wishes are followed when you can no longer speak for yourself. Senior Living recommends this person be a friend, attorney, trusted advisor or your adult child. Your advanced directive includes two legal documents, the health care power of attorney and your living will. The power of attorney is the legal document that gives your chosen advocate the legal ability to make decisions, healthcare decisions in particular, on your behalf.
- An Advanced Directive, Write a Living Will: The second part of your advanced directive is a living will. Your living will includes instructions for you end-of-life medical wishes. A living will can also be called a health care declaration, directive to physicians or medical directive. It basically tells your medical providers whether or not you want life saving or restoring efforts to be performed on you, should you stop breathing or your heart stop beating. It also includes direction on whether or not you want to be kept alive via a machine. Consider it an instruction manual for your medical providers to follow at the end of your life. Caring Info states that is your legal right to either refuse or accept any medical treatment.
- A Legal Will: You also need a legal will that explains your wishes regarding your possessions and your funeral. Be as clear as possible in your will to explain who gets what. Don’t assume that your family members or friends will simply know what you would want. Tell where each and every possession should go. If you would rather your family members sell your possession and split the revenue, state that clearly in your will. Also, be sure to include where you want to be buried, if you would prefer another option like cremation. If you have already paid funeral expenses, make sure to include what you have paid for in your will and where you have made these arrangements.
- Communicate With Family Members: These legally binding documents are great to have, but you need to share with your family and friends where these documents are stored. A good idea is to put these important documents in a safe box at the bank. Wherever you choose, make sure a few trusted individuals know where you have them stored. Some individuals prefer to simply store these documents at home. At AgeWell Medical Associates, we are happy to help our established patients create an end of life plan and will keep all medical documents in your medical chart.
When Do You Need End-of-Life Planning?
Obviously, no one knows when their time will come, so technically, every adult needs end-of-life planning. However, as you age and get closer to the time where natural death could occur, the need for end-of-life planning becomes more and more pressing. We suggest you take care of this as soon as possible.
What Is the Process?
We sit down with you and your family members and go over your end-of-life plans. If you already have legal documents in place, we will ensure we have copies of them on file.
Medical directives and wills are legally binding documents, when constructed properly. Therefore, creating such a document works well to ensure your end-of-life wishes are honored.
Why End-of-Life Planning Is Necessary
You might wonder why you need to worry with end-of-life planning. Consider your family and friends when answering this question. Imagine the tough decisions that will be placed on their shoulders if you don’t make these decisions ahead of time. They might have to decide if you want to be kept alive artificially. How will they know your wishes? Also, simply knowing what you want lifts a giant burden off of them once you have passed away. They only have to follow your well laid out plans, no need for them to worry about “what you might have wanted.”
Have More Questions?
Contact us to schedule an advanced care planning visit to discuss your wishes. We’re more than happy to schedule an appointment with you and your family members to discuss end-of-life planning.