Make informed choices early

As our population’s longevity moves upwards, elder law has become an increasingly popular field, covering estate planning, trusts, wills, care arrangements, Social Security and retirement benefits, protection against elder abuse (physical, emotional and financial) and advance care planning for health care options — interventions people might choose, or not choose, if they could no longer communicate themselves.

That said, it is incumbent upon all of us — including those who practice elder law — to promote the notion that health care advance directives aren’t just for older adults.

Unexpected end-of-life situations can happen at any age, so it’s important for all adults to prepare these documents. By planning ahead, you can get the medical care you want, avoid unnecessary suffering and relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during moments of crisis or grief. Completing an advance directive reduces confusion or disagreement about the choices you would want people to make on your behalf.

I encourage you to attend an upcoming program titled The Realities of Advanced Medical Interventions at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 9, at the Land Trust Building. The free presentation, given by a hospice nurse, supports good decision making for health care choices, before accident or illness occurs.

As a community, let’s continue this important conversation.

— The Rev. Sally Carlson

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