Have You Had The Conversation?
However, It really is a gift to yourself as well as to those you love to make your wishes known and designate someone to carry them out for you. Ask anyone who had to go through this situation without knowing the other person’s wishes and you’ll hear stories of guilt, fear, sadness, and often, irreparable harm done to family relationships.
One important document you need is a Health Care Power of Attorney - allows you to designate someone to serve as a your proxy or agent in case you are unable to make medical decisions on your own. This is the link for the form for Illinois. It’s critical to not only fill this out, but make sure the person you designate is comfortable taking on this role and talk to that person about what decisions you would want them to make, if needed. You can fill out the form without consulting a lawyer, it just needs to be witnessed, not notarized.
To help you have the conversation with your health care proxy and other loved ones, this Five Wishes booklet is helpful. Five Wishes is a national document accepted by almost all states. It includes a form to list your Health Care Power of Attorney but also includes an easy-to-use way for you to let people know what kind of care you would want.
Advance care planning puts you in control. Aging and being diagnosed with a serious illness generally brings so much uncertainty and fear, so anything that gives us a sense of control can be comforting. It’s the perfect time to think about your wishes and who you want to be in charge of carrying them out for you.
Please, if you haven’t done this yet, put it at the top of your to do list!
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