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Daytona residents learn about advance directives at lunch

Haven Hospice presented a learning opportunity for residents of Florida's Central East Coast on a recent Wednesday. The lecture and lunch was held at the Palm Coast Community Center, and the event was free with pre-registration.

The topic of the event was so-called "advance directives." This term encompasses several types of written medical directives that tell health care workers and family members about one's wishes regarding decisions made about medical care when one is incapacitated for some reason. They can include a living will, a medical power-of-attorney, and "do not resuscitate orders," sometimes called "DNRs."

The lecture and lunch is part of the organization's promotion of the non-profit "Aging with Dignity" concept of "five wishes." These "wishes are meant to ensure that family members and medical personnel are aware of what kind of medical treatment one wishes to have or not to have, what information one's family members should be given and who should make health care decisions if one can't make them for oneself, how one wishes to be treated and how comfortable one wishes to be.

Advance directives are an important part of any estate plan. Daytona residents should be aware that planning for future incapacity is as important, if not more so, than posthumous financial planning. While it may be uncomfortable to think about the possibility of physical and mental incapacitation, deciding who one trusts with one's care, and exactly what measures one wishes to be taken to keep one alive are essential to ensuring that not only are one's wishes followed, but that the stress on loved ones is reduced, since one's wishes are clearly laid out.

Everyone should think about exploring all ways in which they can execute legally valid documents that will achieve their aims as far as protecting their right to determine the course of their own medical care.

Source: Daytona Times, "'Advance Directives' will be topic of Palm Coast Lunch n' Lecture," Nov. 14, 2013

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