If you are young and healthy, or even at an advanced age and healthy, you may not be spending too much time thinking about medical care in the future. However, unexpected things happen, and it is always good to prepare for them.
If it is important to be in charge of what treatments a medical team would administer in the event you could not make those decisions yourself, you should have a living will. This outlines procedures you want and do not want.
When to prepare a living will
You may think the time to prepare a living will is when you hit a certain age, such as 60 or older. However, the U.S. News and World Report discusses why everyone 18 years of age and older should have one. Although many illnesses occur later in life, there are things that can happen, such as accidents or cancer diagnoses, at any age. It is always a good idea to prepare for the unexpected.
What to include in a living will
Because what you include in a living will is important and life-changing, the Mayo Clinic encourages everyone to take the time to think about values and really evaluate wishes regarding life-sustaining procedures.
Common things that you should address in your living will include:
- Palliative care
- Ventilation and tube feeding
- Use of various medications
- Dialysis in the event of kidney failure
- Donation of organs or body
If you have questions about any of the care decisions, speak to your physician. If you are having difficulty deciding what to do, discuss each one with a trusted friend or family member.