August 6th, 2009
President Obama discussed the importance of preparing a Living Will at an online forum on health care sponsored by AARP on July 28, 2009:
“The problem is right now most of us don’t give direction to our family members and so when we get really badly sick, sadly enough, nobody is there to make the decisions.
And then the doctor, who doesn’t know what you might have preferred, they’re making decisions, in consultation with your kids or your grandkids, and nobody knows what you would have preferred.
So I think the idea there is to simply make sure that a living will process is easier for people — it doesn’t require you to hire a lawyer or to take up a lot of time.
… But it’s actually a useful tool I think for a lot of families to make sure that if, heaven forbid, you contract a terminal illness, that you are somebody who is able to control this process in a dignified way that is true to your faith and true to how you think that end-of-life process should proceed.
You don’t want somebody else making those decisions for you. So I actually think it’s a good idea to have a living will . I’d encourage everybody to get one. I have one. Michelle has one. And we hope we don’t have to use it for a long time, but I think it’s something that is sensible.” (For full transcript visit the White House Briefing Room)
A Living Will (also known as an Advance Healthcare Directive or just Advance Directive) allows anyone to indicate their wishes concerning the withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining procedures if they are in a terminal condition with no hope of recovery or are permanently unconscious.
Importance of a Living Will
- Give direction to your family members or partner - in case you get badly sick your family can make decisions based on your preferences in an difficult time.
- Achieve legal and emotional security that a legal document can provide in protecting your interests should something unexpected occur.
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