Advance Directives: Even Important in your 20s
A year ago my husband, Gavin, was having shoulder surgery to repair a snowboarding injury. He was anxious – not just about the surgery, but also the pain and rehabilitation that would follow. A few days before his surgery, I attended a planning meeting for National Healthcare Decision Day activities at CHI Health.
As a the group talked about the importance of having Advance Directives (AD), the idea came home to me–if something happened while Gavin was in surgery, I would not know what he would want. We had never had this conversation! The timing of this meeting was good, because it spurred my decision to have the conversation with my husband.
There is no denying that it was uncomfortable to talk about and even harder to imagine Gavin needing an AD. It was almost hard to take it seriously as I talked with Gavin. It seemed like such an off chance that anything would happen to him. This attitude is exactly why having an AD is so important! I can’t imagine how I would feel, expecting to see him after surgery with everything fine, to be told that something had happened. I’d be in no shape to talk about what comes next or what he would want. I knew I wanted to have a plan in place. And I’d want the same thing for him if the role was reversed.
It may seem like having an Advance Directive in you 20s or 30s wouldn’t be worth the time it takes to create it. We learned, though, that they are just as beneficial when you are young and healthy as when someone is elderly. Think of it as a gift you can give your loved ones. Once it is done, there is a freedom from the burden, stress, anxiety and pain of making life-altering decisions on your behalf. There is also freedom for your loved ones to process, grieve, and heal if the unthinkable happens. What better gift is there for those you love?