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50+: Live Better, Longer

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Advance Directive: What to Include - Topic Overview

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?

Do you have any other thoughts about what quality of life means to you and how much control you want to have over it?

Here are some other questions to think about:

  • 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 pacemakers 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.
  • Do you want to include your beliefs and thoughts about illness, dying, and death?
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Advance Directive: What to Include Topics

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