What Are Advance Directives?
Video credited to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
For more information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), visit the End of Life topic at www.nihseniorhealth.gov, the health and wellness website for older adults from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Advance directives & long-term care
Avoid confusion: let others know what you want
You can tell your family, friends, and health care professionals what kind of health care you would want or who you want to make decisions for you if you’re too ill to speak for yourself with legal documents called advance directives.
Types of advance directives
A health care proxy (durable power of attorney) is a document that names someone you trust to make health decisions if you can’t.
A living will tells which treatment you want if your life is threatened, including:
- Dialysis and breathing machines
- Resuscitation if you stop breathing or if your heart stops
- Tube feeding
- Organ or tissue donation after you die
How to get advance directives
Get an advance directive from your health care provider, attorney, local Area Agency on Aging, or state health department.
What to do with your advance directives
- Keep the original copies of your advance directives where you can easily find them.
- Give a copy to your health care proxy, health care providers, hospital, nursing home, family, and friends.
- Carry a card in your wallet that says you have an advance directive.
- Review your advance directives each year.
Plan for long-term care
Visit www.longtermcare.gov for information and resources to help you and your family plan for future long-term care needs.
For more information from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), visit our web site at www.nihseniorhealth.gov