What Is a Living Will?
If you’re like most people, you’re familiar with the purpose of a last will and testament. This document provides a comprehensive outline that expresses your preferences after you have died. Whether you’ve created one or not (only about 50% of adults have), you’re probably aware that at some point you will die, and that you can save your loved ones a lot of stress by providing this final piece of guidance.
As uncomfortable as many of us are with the thought of our own deaths, we’re even more squeamish thinking about the days and weeks leading up to our final breaths. However, just like your final will and testament is designed to help your loved ones by outlining your wishes after your death, a living will guides your loved ones through the difficult decisions that must be made during situations in which you are unable to communicate.
Keeping reading to learn more about living wills and how to create your own.
What Information Does a Living Will Provide?
Living wills, also known as advance directives, range from very specific to very general. However, wills that only provide general information may not offer sufficient direction and cause unnecessary confusion and friction between your healthcare providers and your loved ones. For this reason, living wills that provide specific information are preferred. Your living will should contain carefully thought out and informed instructions that are based on communication between you and your physician before a medical crisis occurs.
Since living wills were first drafted in the 1960’s, medical information and technology has grown exponentially. Today’s living wills focus less on specific treatments and medical procedures and more on the patient’s personal goals and their preferred health outcomes.
A living will can:
- Discuss pain management and palliative care
- Designate who will make medical decisions on your behalf
- Outline what kind of life support treatment that you want (or don’t want)
- Provide instructions for personal grooming and bathing
- Describe what type of religious, spiritual or emotional support you want
- Detail funeral or memorial service preferences
Making Your Living Will (And Encouraging Your Senior Loved One to Do the Same)
While less than half of adults have a living will, a majority of those that do are seniors. However, if your senior loved one has not created one, the best way to encourage them to do so is to make one yourself. This is a great way to demonstrate that you’re not just asking them to create one because you’re concerned about their health, but that it’s simply the responsible thing to do.
While a lawyer can assist you in creating a living will, you do not need to hire one for your document to be legally valid. Every state has its own criteria for making a living will, so be sure to find one that meets your state’s requirements. A user-friendly advance directive form and instructions valid in Maryland can be found below. Living will forms can also be found at your doctor’s office, local hospitals or senior centers. There is also software available to help you draft your living will. Once you have completed it, you will need to sign it and have it signed by two witnesses. You should give one copy of your living will to your doctor, and you should make other copies to give to those close to you to have on hand should the need arise.
Creating a living will is a simple way to prevent unnecessary stress for your loved ones while ensuring that your wishes are carried out, even if you are not able to communicate them.
Every patient that Sagepoint works with faces their own unique challenges. We’re here to help them all. What keeps us going is the support of our community, people like you, and the opportunity to play a part in stories like this.
‘He’s Back to Doing Everything’
“I knew Sagepoint was there, but I really didn’t know much about it,” says Barbara Howell, a lifelong
While most of the care we provide at Sagepoint is for seniors, that’s not always the case. We thought you’d like to hear this story of a young married couple and the medical challenges they are overcoming– thanks in large part to the support of donors like you.
‘A 100% Miracle’
Karen Shifflett remembers her second wedding anniversary all too vividly. She sat at
To our friends and supporters of Sagepoint Senior Living, we thought that you’d like to know a little bit about what your donations make possible. This is Miriam Kimball’s story:
A Tale of Two Parents
When Miriam Kimball’s father grew increasingly fragile from Parkinson’s disease, she moved him from a Pittsburgh nursing home to Sagepoint. Her mother, Miriam Donnellon, soon became a fixture there.
When Dr. Christopher Callahan examines older patients, he often hears a similar refrain. “I’m tired, doctor. It’s hard to get up and about. I’ve been feeling kind of down, but I know I’m getting old and I just have to live with it.” This fatalistic stance
Family members of aging adults typically travel one of two paths to becoming a caregiver: the sudden sprint, or the gradual march. The sudden sprint towards providing care for a loved one is often set off by an unexpected event—a stroke, a fall, complications from surgery—which acts as a catalyst, escalating your family member’s care needs practically overnight. The gradual march in the direction of caregiving
Has your loved one recently celebrated their 65th birthday? If so, then they now qualify for Medicare. Keep reading for a crash course on a few facts that you need to know about this program.
Medicare Eligibility is not Based on Income
Unlike Medicaid which is made available to individuals whose income falls below a certain income level, eligibility for Medicare does not depend on income.
As we’re approaching the holiday season, you may have opportunities over the upcoming months to visit family. These reunions often showcase how aging parents and other loved ones have changed over the course of the year. This time together can provide a wonderful chance for you to evaluate their health and quality of life and to recognize if any changes need to be made. Keep reading
October is National Physical Therapy Month and the perfect time to focus on the benefits of physical therapy, especially for seniors. Physical therapy provides a fantastic way for seniors to recover from injuries and continue to enjoy optimal health and quality of life. Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of physical therapy.
Why Do We Need Physical Therapy
From providing relief for chronic pain
No matter your age, getting the flu is no fun. Each year, between 5 and 20 percent of adults are diagnosed with the flu. Flu season is generally considered to be between the months of December and March, but outbreaks can happen as early as October and as late into the year as May. While most healthy adults fare just fine, older adults, especially those with
If you’re like most people, you’re familiar with the purpose of a last will and testament. This document provides a comprehensive outline that expresses your preferences after you have died. Whether you’ve created one or not (only about 50% of adults have), you’re probably aware that at some point you will die, and that you can save your loved ones a lot of stress by providing