Over the course of a lifetime, many of us will have to make tough decisions that will have a significant impact on our lives. As time progresses it seems like these decisions get more and more difficult and have more serious consequences.
Early on, decisions such as which college to attend are monumental life choices and are especially so for young people whose brains are still not yet fully formed.
Another extremely difficult choice many face is whether to put down a pet that is ailing and suffering. It is very hard to end the life of a loved family member, but it is heartbreaking to see them suffer as well.
The most stressful of decisions are those directly concerning a loved one’s life. Is it time to put your parents in an assisted living facility and remove them from their life-long residence? There are no absolute guidelines and the effects will be extreme stress on the aging parents combined with the question of whether you’ve done the right thing.
Finally, the hardest of all decisions is one you won’t make. If you’ve become incapacitated and recovery is unlikely who will make the choice to end your life? Is it fair to leave someone on life support when their brain is technically dead? Can you imagine putting this responsibility on anyone?
This is where an advanced directive comes in. It is defined as:
A legal document that states a person’s wishes about receiving medical care if that person is no longer able to make medical decisions because of a serious illness or injury.
Although it is an extremely unpleasant topic to discuss, it is imperative to have your wishes known ahead of time rather than putting this responsibility on someone else. Family members should be involved so they are all aware of the final decree.
Seniors need to plan for the time when they are no longer alive by completing a will, a power of attorney, and finally, an advanced directive so their passing is less difficult for their family and friends.