Whether planning for a vacation, the holidays or even your retirement, we all know the importance of thinking ahead. But have you ever thought about planning for your health future? Spending some time thinking about your advanced directives can help you lead the life you want throughout your healthcare journey. Experts encourage all adults to draft and frequently review their advanced directives, legal documents that lay out action steps if a health crisis occurs. Advanced directives include:

Living wills - documents that outline the type of care you’d like to receive in your end-of-life journey. Through living wills, you can make decisions about resuscitation options, health care interventions and organ donations.

Healthcare powers of attorneys – this document allows you name an individual or individuals who will be authorized to make decisions on your behalf. Oftentimes these are family members, but they don’t have to be. Friends or professionals can act as your power of attorney.

When drafting your advanced directives, be sure to consult your attorney or legal counsel. Professionals can provide you with the proper documents to prepare and can advise on any questions. After completing the documents take a few steps to make sure others are aware of your wishes:

Make several copies of the documents keeping one for yourself and providing others to family members, health professionals, clergy and anyone else who may be involved.

Avoid filing the advanced directives in a safe deposit box as others may need to gain access to them.

Review your advanced directives on a yearly basis. Oftentimes our outlooks on healthcare or relationships change as we get older.

Documenting your health care wishes is important and doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Consult legal and health care professionals for advice and steps on how to get started. Contact a Tabitha continuum navigator at 402.486.8520 for a planning guide.