You’ve probably heard the term “living will,” whether you understood what it meant or not. The definition of a living will is a health care directive that states the wishes of a patient that will be respected and legally adhered to. The living will makes sure that the care outlined in it is followed above what anyone else may want.
The living will contains many important specifics should the patient be physically unable to make choices at a later date. There are written instructions concerning the level of medical treatment that person receives. You can be very specific regarding this treatment even mandating that heroic actions not be taken to stay alive if you’re in the condition of needing machines, for example. You may choose, instead, to only be kept comfortable. A living will is the place to specify your wishes regarding organ donation. This is also an excellent way to make sure the right person oversees your wishes in the event that you can’t.
A lot of people feel that a living will isn’t something they need until they’re much older. People of all adult ages need a living will, but certainly those of an advanced age. Life is unpredictable at any age, but particularly when you reach your senior years. If your parents are of an age where things could go wrong quickly, you may want to encourage them to make a living will.
Explain to them that a living will protects them when they’ve lost the ability to communicate. Without a legal way to state their wishes if a medical situation arose, the medical professionals treating them will be making the decisions regarding treatment. That may not be what your parents would want done in such a situation.
A living will being in place will stop major disagreements among family members if the decision isn’t left to the medical professionals. When family members can’t agree on what medical treatment should be administered to their parents, a living will clearly states what the parents want. It’s legally binding and no one can get mad at anyone else for making decisions that they disagree with.
When your parents have a living will, they still have control over any and all medical treatments and/or procedures that take place in the event that they can’t say what they want. The living will should be presented to the doctors and they must fulfill the wishes stated there. It also takes a difficult decision away from you as the child.
In the unfortunate event that your parents end up in a coma where the only way they’re kept alive is through machines, the living will is the place for them to say what they want. Many of these patients last for twenty years or more and the cost to the family is unbelievable. A lot of people prefer not to be kept alive this way in addition to being a financial burden to their families when their quality of life will never improve. A living will can be very specific and detailed as to what your parents want in a situation like this.
Finally, a living will offers the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your parents’ wishes will be followed should the worst happen.