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Getting Started with End-of-Life Planning

Updated: Jan 5, 2019

End-of-life planning may seem like an uncomfortable topic, but for you and your loved ones it is absolutely essential. And regardless of how healthy you are, we all know that things can change suddenly and unexpectedly. Planning for that can help put your mind at ease and keep you in control of your healthcare decisions no matter what.

Let’s start with the basics of end-of-life planning. There are three important terms you need to know:

Living will: Also called a directive to physicians or advance directive, this is a document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions.

Health care directive: This allows a person to appoint an agent to represent them with health decisions and provide that agent with any end-of-life care instructions.

Healthcare power of attorney: An HCPA is a legal form that allows an individual to empower another with decisions regarding his or her healthcare and medical treatment.

So how important is it to have a health care directive, living will, or health care power of attorney? Very. Here’s why:

1. You can make your own decisions while you are still able to do so--and they are YOUR decisions, not anybody else’s.

2. You can appoint someone you trust to make those decisions in case you become unable to do so.

3. You have peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be honored at the end of your life. This may keep loved ones from needing to make those difficult decisions that could divide the family or cause guilt knowing that someone made a “wrong” decision.

Dori’s Doves can help you with important decisions surrounding end-of-life planning. We utilize the book Five Wishes, and we will guide you through each step of the way. It is very simple and very doable. You can contact me on my Facebook page or through email at if you’d like more information about any of this.

If you'd like more detailed information on this topic, head on over to this Mayo Clinic article about living wills and advance directives.

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