One day, you may be unable to speak for yourself. It could happen suddenly through a serious accident such as a car crash. Or it could develop gradually with the onset and advance of dementia or other illnesses.
If doctors need to make decisions on your care, it helps if you have already provided your choices in writing. An advanced health care directive allows you to do this now while you are fit and able. Don’t worry, though. The document will only come into play if you reach that point of being unable to express yourself (or to understand your situation).
Here are some things to consider:
Will you accept being kept alive via machines? Kidney dialysis machines and ventilators to help you breathe are two common examples.
Would you like to be fed through a tube? This can be the only way to get food and drink into people who cannot take them by mouth.
Would you want to be resuscitated? Would you be happy to receive chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? What about a shock to the heart?
Would you like to be drugged so you cannot feel the pain? Some people want to feel every last moment. Others would prefer to avoid suffering if easily done through legal medicines.
Would you like to help save someone else’s life? If you are not going to live, removing your organs may help someone else to do so.
These are tough decisions. Making them now in calm, avoids giving someone else the burden of doing so in a difficult moment. It’s just one of the issues to consider when creating your estate plan.