Advance directives are a set of written instructions that inform others of medical care preferences. For seniors who are suddenly unable to make their own health decisions, family members and doctors will consult advance directives. Having these legally binding written directions can help to alleviate confusion or disagreements during times of medical emergency.
What kind of health measures or treatments do seniors want in the event of an emergency?
When seniors determine their wishes, it is vital for them to consider their values. For example, seniors should consider the importance of independence, the need to self-sufficient and what, if any, conditions would make life not worth living. Seniors must ask themselves:
Naturally, seniors cannot predict emergency medical situations that will occur. They cannot foresee diseases that will develop. However, when creating advance directives, it is necessary for seniors to discuss the following treatments with their doctors:
How do seniors fill out advance directive forms?
Advance directives should always be in writing. Seniors should be aware that each state has their own specific laws when it comes to advance directives. State-specific forms are available from a variety of websites, such as the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Although it is not legally required, seniors may choose to consult with an attorney about the process of creating advance directives. Once the forms are filled out, seniors must give copies to their doctors, healthcare agents and chosen family members. It is best for seniors to keep an additional copy in a safe place.