A living will, commonly referred to as an advance healthcare directive, is an important medical document for you to have. It provides you with the means to proactively assert your preferences, even when you are unable to communicate them.
A Gallup Poll reveals that 72% of adults aged 65 or older possess a living will. If you are not among this group, there are several reasons why you should consider making one too.
Control over medical decisions
A living will gives you the autonomy to make decisions about your medical care while you are still of sound mind. You can specify your desires for life-sustaining treatments, such as artificial respiration or tube feeding, and even dictate under what conditions to administer or withhold them.
Reduced family burden
When you create a living will, you are easing the emotional and moral burden on your loved ones. In the absence of your clear directives, your family members may have to make agonizing decisions about your healthcare, potentially causing rifts and emotional distress.
Having a living will establishes consistency in your medical treatment. It ensures that healthcare providers will follow your outlined preferences, reducing the likelihood of making arbitrary decisions based on individual beliefs or opinions.
A living will serves as a legally binding document that stands up in court. This means your medical decisions are upheld, reducing the likelihood of disputes or disagreements within your family or between medical professionals.
Life can throw unexpected emergencies your way. Accidents or sudden illnesses can render you incapacitated. In such situations, your living will assures the follow-through of your wishes, making it a tool to safeguard your interests.
Dignified end of life
One of the most important aspects of a living will is that it enables you to have a dignified end of life. You can stipulate whether you want to stay on life support or if you prefer comfort care and pain management.
Creating a living will provides peace of mind, as it ensures the respect of your values and choices. It also relieves the anxiety associated with the unknown and grants you a sense of control over your own destiny.