Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Writing an Advance Directive - Why an Advance Directive Is Important

An advance directive is important in case something happens to you and you can't speak for yourself. It gives you control over your own medical care if you're badly hurt or if you develop a serious illness and you can't make your own medical decisions. It's also very important for your family and your doctor. They can use the information in your advance directive to make choices for you if you can't make them yourself.

A living will and a medical power of attorney are the main types of advance directives.

Recommended Related to Healthy Seniors

How Your Nutritional Needs Change as You Age

Do you need to change what and how you eat in your 50s, 60s, and beyond? Yes, though maybe not in ways you might think. Fallacies about nutritional needs later in life abound, and it's not always easy to separate myth from fact, especially because a lot of information is aimed at younger adults. You should eat less as you get older. True. "Energy requirements decrease with every decade," says Connie Bales, PhD, RD, professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center and associate director...

Read the How Your Nutritional Needs Change as You Age article > >

If you don't have a living will and a health care agent, a person other than your family member may decide what kind of care you receive. A decision may be made by a doctor who doesn't know you, or it may even be made by the courts. In some states, you need to make clear and give permission in your advance directive that you don't want to be fed through a tube or receive other kinds of life support.

Sometimes you and your family may need help agreeing on the best way to meet your medical needs. Eldercare mediation can help families work together.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Senior man doing press ups in gym
Slideshow
reflection of couple kissing
Quiz
 
man reviewing building plans
Quiz
Women working out and walking with weights
Community
 
fast healthy snack ideas
Article
how healthy is your mouth
Tool
 
dog on couch
Tool
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
champagne toast
Slideshow
Youth listening to headphones
Slideshow
 
Man feeding woman
Slideshow
two senior women laughing
Article