Think about the number of decisions you make for yourself and others on any given day. Now consider what it would be like to make these vital decisions without being able to control your speech or dexterity? For most of us, planning and decision-making are a significant part of our day. That’s why it’s critically important that we make future plans for our health should the unfortunate happen and we become incapacitated or unable to make important decisions for ourselves.
This Saturday is National Healthcare Decisions Day. Across the country, our neighbors will join forces in a collaborative movement that advocates for a better public understanding of advance care planning. This year’s theme – It Always Seems Too Early, Until It’s Too Late – appropriately communicates the urgency for all adults to start planning now.
According to the National Institute on Aging, more than one out of four older Americans face questions about medical treatment near the end of life but are incapable of making or expressing those decisions. Advance care planning involves determining your health care preferences and values, considering what decisions you would like others to make on your behalf, and documenting your plan in the form of an advance directive.
An advance care directive contains two essential elements:
- A health care power of attorney (or proxy) that documents the person you select to be your voice for your health care decisions, if you cannot speak for yourself
- A living will that documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life
For more than 60 years, the Florida Health Care Association has served as the state’s trusted leader in long term care. We understand that advance health care planning can be a difficult conversation for many adults and their families. To open this dialogue, we encourage you to visit our care options resources on the eldercareflorida.com website. Visit the National Healthcare Decisions Day website to learn more about the movement, and we hope you will join us this Saturday as we recognize the value in advance health care planning.