A living will, also called a healthcare or advance directive, allows seniors to make their wishes known about medical care they wish to receive at the end of their lives if they are unable to voice it themselves. The will is a legal document that helps family members and doctors make decisions during such a crucial time.
Seniors can talk about writing up a living will with their families. A living will often works in conjunction with a medical power of attorney. Some states require only a living will for end-of-life medical treatment while others require legal forms for both a living will and a medical power of attorney.
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Here are six reasons seniors need a living will:
1. The type of medical care you want — If you become incapacitated in some way and can’t let people know your wishes, a living will informs medical personnel of the care you wish to be provided or withheld, Caring.com explains. Doctors have your advice in writing to proceed.
2. A trusted person in charge — Seniors can name a person they trust in a living will. This person understands their desires at uncertain times in the future and can make sure these requests are carried out, directing the proper decisions on medical care.
3. Settle family disagreements — In cases where loved ones are involved, family members may disagree on treatment for seniors who are unable to decide for themselves. The living will makes clear certain decisions to avoid uncomfortable disputes.
4. Directing treatments desired — A living will informs doctors about such end-of-life decisions as resuscitation and ventilation techniques for breathing, Daily Caring notes. Other issues may include a senior’s wish to die at home, to receive or not receive certain pain medications, or to avoid invasive treatments and tests.
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5. Medical decisions after death — Seniors may want to donate their organs or tissues to people on a transplant waiting list, according to Home Helpers. They may also express thoughts on donating their body to science. A living will relieves loved ones of these decisions at a difficult time.
6. Peace of mind — All types of wills, like life insurance, are sometimes difficult for people to consider. Seniors will feel much better, however, with a living will that prevents decision-making on the part of family members or caregivers and avoids any conflicts. It also gives them a chance to talk about their end-of-life choices with the people close to them.
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