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With Valentine’s just around the corner, we’re all seeing lots of ads for diamond jewelry, chocolates, flowers, and all the usual stuff. But this month we’re going to talk about a few different “gifts” you can give your loved ones that mean a little more. Sure, chocolates and jewelry are nice, but taking care of yourself and your future lasts longer.

Someday, hopefully not soon, you may not be able to make your own decisions when it comes to healthcare. Whether it’s a sudden emergency like a stroke or heart attack, or an illness that takes time like dementia or Alzheimer’s to chip away at your capabilities. There is any number of situations that could take away your ability to make health care decisions.

This February, take some time to do the two things that will get you on the right track to ensure your health care wishes are honored in the case you can’t make your own decisions.

Talk to your loved ones about your health care wishes

They aren’t mind-readers! You have to tell them what you want. Usually, this happens over a series of conversations and things will change as your health changes. Be sure to be open and honest in sharing your values and wishes. These conversations are most important to have with your named decision-maker—whether it’s your child, spouse, or other loved one. Keep the dialog open and don’t be shy. It may make your decision-maker uncomfortable now, but it will be worse later if they don’t know what you want.

Document your wishes and your health care agent

It is key to get your wishes written down. Start with your values and worry less about the specifics. You can’t account for every possible scenario, so focus on the big picture. The other documentation you’ll want is naming your health care power of attorney. This is the person you name as your decision-maker in the event you can’t make your own.

If you don’t know how to get started, we’d love to help. We can talk to you about what key decisions and documents you need. Give your loved ones peace of mind knowing you have prepared for your future. Don’t saddle them with tough decisions without knowing what you want. Contact our office today and we’ll help you get started!