Ughhh, I get it. Who wants to talk about advanced directives? The answer is nobody, which is exactly why I want to talk with you about it today. So many of us avoid the conversation completely. If the legal documents are for you, then you’re stuck thinking about your own mortality, if they’re for your parents, then you have to think about losing mom and dad. I’m honestly not sure which is worse. Here’s why it’s so important to have an advanced directive and the steps you can take to make the process a little easier.
Questions To Answer
Let’s start by asking a few very important questions to get the ball rolling.
- Who do you want to make health care decisions for you when you can no longer make them?
- What kind of medical care do you want — or not want?
- How do you want people to treat you while you’re ill?
- What do you want loved ones to know about your health condition?
These are a few of the questions that you will need to answer to complete an advanced directive. So why is this so important. Simply put, if you don’t make these decisions for yourself, someone else will make them for you. Most likely, the state will call on your family to make decisions and you may not like the ones they make. Furthermore, they may not agree, turning an already difficult time into a nightmare. I personally know of brothers and sisters who’ve stopped talking to each other over these kinds of decisions.
Will you be surprised if I tell you that you can create an advanced directive as soon as you turn 18? That’s right, and it’s not a bad idea. Of course, at age 18 we all think we’re invincible, but accidents happen. Once you’re considered an adult legally, you will have the same questions that need to be answered as your parents do. The difference, of course, being that you’ll have fewer assets and probably not a family of your own. So, as you age, the need for an advanced directive becomes greater and greater. Eventually it becomes imperative and then, unfortunately, too late. Don’t put your family in the awkward position of having to make these choices. The experience of seeing you in pain will be difficult enough.
How To Talk To Your Parents About An Advanced Directive
Chances are you are not too excited about walking up to mom and dad with an advanced directive in your hand. This I understand all too well. Your parents are proud and typically the ones to help you make decisions. Here’s what I suggest. Create an advanced directive for yourself and involve them in the process. Let them help you and get comfortable with the idea before you suggest that they get one for themselves. Mom or dad may even bring it up before you get a chance. How much easier would that make everything?
Other Questions To Consider
Ok, now we’re down to the actual work of finishing the advanced directive. Here are a few other questions you should be asking.
How do you feel about the use of life support if you:
- Have a serious illness that can’t be cured?
- Are in a coma and there is little chance that you’ll come out of it?
- Have a long-term illness that gets worse over time and doesn’t get better?
What concerns you the most?
- Are you worried that you’ll have pain or be kept alive on machines?
- Are you worried that you’ll lose your ability to function and live on your own or that you’ll be a burden to your family?
- Are there things that scare you? Include your fears or concerns in your advance directive.
What does quality of life mean to you?
- Do you want to be able to function and live on your own?
- Are you okay with living in a hospital or nursing home?
- Are you okay with being kept alive by machines?
- Where do you want to spend the last days of your life? Would it be in the hospital or at home?
- Do you have any medical problems right now that affect your way of life?
- Do you have an implanted cardiac device that may need to be deactivated at some point? This includes some types of pacemakes and ICDs (implantable cardioverter-defibrillators).
- Do you want to donate your organs when you die?
- Can you talk to your doctor about end-of-life issues?
- Do your religious or spiritual beliefs keep you from having a living will? If they do, ask your clergy or spiritual advisor to help you know what to do if you can’t make medical decisions for yourself.
- Will you be able to practice religious rituals before you die? In some religions, rituals are done before or after a person dies. If you want certain rituals to be done and know who you want to do them, write them in your advance directive. For safety reasons, some hospitals may not let you do certain rituals.
Yes, it’s a lot to think about, but once it’s done you will feel like you’ve taken control of a time when people feel out of control the most.
Now, if you are a Real Estate professional in this space or you’d just like to work with the above 50 market in any capacity, I’ve got great news. I will be teaching a Senior Real Estate Specialist designation course coming in January 2018 so save the date and reach out to me at email@example.com for updates.