Advance care planning

Having meaningful conversations with your loved ones is most important.

by National Institute on Aging

What is advance care planning (ACP)? ACP involves discussing and preparing for future decisions about your medical care if you become seriously ill or unable to communicate your wishes. It often involves preparing legal documents called advance directives, which provide instructions for medical care and only go into effect if you cannot communicate your own wishes. The two most common advance directives for health care include the living will and a durable power of attorney for health care.

Having meaningful conversations with your loved ones is the most important part of advance care planning. Research shows that you are more likely to get the care you want if you have conversations about your future medical treatment and put a plan in place. Having a plan in place may also help your loved ones grieve more easily and feel less burden, guilt, and depression. If you have been diagnosed with a condition, like dementia, advance care planning can give you a sense of control over an uncertain future and you can participate directly in decision-making about your future care.

Ready to take action?

Write down your responses to the following questions:

What is motivating me to create an advance care plan?

What do I hope to get out of my advance care plan?

Do I have any concerns or barriers holding me back from creating my plan?

Who can support me in creating my plan?

Thinking through these questions can help you prepare for the journey ahead.

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