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Advance Directives: Your Critical Action Plans

Advance directives ensure that a person’s health care wishes are carried out at the end of that person’s life. There are two types of advance directives: a health care power of attorney and a living will.

Sally Hurme, elder law attorney at AARP, explains the purpose of these documents. A living will communicates the types of medical treatments that a person does or does not want used to sustain her life. Life-sustaining treatments may include artificial nutrition and artificial hydration.

A health care power of attorney is used to designate a health care advocate, someone who will ensure that one’s wishes are carried out. Many people put off creating advance directives. If your loved one hasn’t completed these documents, encourage her to do so by creating your own advance directives first.

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