Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - 24

THE CASE FOR
BEING PREPARED

And before you say "but I'm young
and healthy," know this: It's important
to have these conversations before
you're sick or injured. "People think
if they're not sick, they don't need
this, but these plans come into play
when you are unconscious or unable
to understand or communicate," says
Elizabeth Revenko, a certified financial
planner and a member of the Financial
Planning Association. "This gives you
the chance to say what you want, not
to have someone else make these decisions for you."
Perhaps most crucial, having these
conversations in advance makes
it less likely there will be a situation later that pits family members
against each other. Reeves has seen
fights break out among family members over medical decisions, such
as whether to use a ventilator or a

24

W IN TER 2017

feeding tube. "I've seen it really tear
up families," he says.
Edo Banach, president and CEO of
the National Hospice and Palliative
Care Organization, points to headlinegrabbing cases. Karen Ann Quinlan
was a 21-year-old who became comatose in 1975. Her parents wanted to
end her life support, but the hospital
objected. Terri Schiavo spent 10 years
in a vegetative state and on a feeding
tube. Her husband wanted to end life
support; her family did not. Quinlan's
parents and Schiavo's husband prevailed after lengthy court battles.
"The last thing we want are stories
like these-unfortunate situations
where someone's wishes are not that
clear and family members end up
fighting," Banach says.
Planning-completing "advance
directives" such as a healthcare power
of attorney and a living will-can
seem overwhelming. Here are answers
to questions you might have.

Q

Where Do I Start?

Begin with a conversation
with your primary care physician. He or she can explain the types
of interventions that medical professionals can provide, such as CPR,
feeding tubes, respirators and pain
management, and outline the options
to consider when deciding which you
might want. Your doctor can also help
you decide who should make medical
decisions on your behalf.
To make it official, you fill out legal
forms, which you can do with or without a lawyer (though some forms need
to be witnessed or notarized). Some
states have their own forms; contact
your local Area Agency on Aging if
you need help accessing them. Your
key choices fall into two areas: who
can make healthcare decisions for you
if you can't, and how you would like
those decisions to be made.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - 2
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover4
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