Talking about end-of-life issues is not a popular pastime, so it might not come as a surprise that many adults do not have advance directives expressing their end-of-life wishes. The scale is staggering however. A recent analysis by a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania put the number at nearly two in three American adults.
A will or trust is not enough to help relatives and friends if you are incapacitated. And tough decisions can lead to conflict that could even result in guardianship or conservatorship proceedings with your loved ones fighting about what you would want or who should make the decisions.
It should be a concern at any age
Many reasons are behind the reluctance to put a plan in place. For some, it may be a cultural reluctance to talk about death. For others, uncertainty about what the future holds may keep them from making a decision they believe would be binding, even if they change their minds later.
It is older people who are the most likely to have some sort of a health care proxy or advance directive. For those in retirement and the elderly, mortality is often more of an immediate reality.
But accidents can take place at any time and illness could strike unexpectedly. Younger people need to ensure that such tools are also in place to provide for loved ones if they are unable.
Not set in stone
One good thing about advance directives, such as a Colorado durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions is that you can revise them if your wishes change. By making and documenting decisions about your health now, you immediately protect yourself and your family while leaving the door open should your perspective change in the future.
Thinking about losing a degree of independence or becoming incapacitated is scary. Having a plan should you be unable to make decisions can, however, provide security and peace of mind in what might otherwise be a stressful situation.
The process might not be as onerous as you think. Speak with an experienced elder care attorney about your wishes. An attorney can also explain how best to formalize these important decisions.