Sometimes we make too big a deal out of it. So big, in fact, that we make it easy to put off. Maybe it seems too difficult to understand what advance directives even are; maybe it is overly complex medically; or maybe it just doesn’t seem as urgent as all the other things in our lives that vie for time and attention. And besides, it is simply not pleasant to discuss. To talk about it requires that we, at least temporarily, cease the persistent denial of our own mortality and the mortality of our loved ones.

And yet we must. We, in fact, do need to plan for and designate who will make healthcare decisions for us in the absence of our own capacity to do so. Furthermore, what direction will we provide to that individual? The healthcare power of attorney, or HPOA answers the question of, “Who is in charge if I cannot speak for myself?” The living will provides the healthcare direction for that person regarding your wishes, thereby enabling them to act on your behalf and in your interests.

These two advance directive documents provide what you need. More importantly, they provide what your loved one and your physician needs, and allow you to remain in charge even when you cannot speak for yourself.

Please don’t put this off until tomorrow; begin the discussion today.