Will to Live Trumps Living Wills

healthy seniorI guess you could blame the “forever young syndrome” (just made that one up), but what else would account for the fact that 64 percent of boomers admit to not having a health care proxy or living will. This startling fact comes to us via an Associated poll.

Bottom line, boomers are feeling healthy and don’t wish to dwell on death. Therefore, they feel they don’t need to address end-of-life issues. Despite plenty of high profile cases where individuals had no explicit instructions as to their medical care, more than half the boomers born between 1946 and 1964 have opted to ignore the potential for such calamities.

Ahem, ahem. That’s me -- clearing my throat. I don’t like to dwell on death either, but look around people. Friends and acquaintances you used to know are not with us anymore. When you were in your 40s or 50s, it didn’t seem like a big deal when you heard that someone in their 60s had died. Then, ever so gradually, you started to hear about people who died and were the same age as you. Creepy, but you put it in the back of your mind. Fast forward to present day, and now you’re realizing that more folks that you know are dropping out of your cohort (a new euphemism for the act of dying). The reality for all of us is that we are going to continue to lose these friends and acquaintances -- at an alarming rate -- in the not too distant future.

Experts remind us that even if you’re the picture of health it’s still a good idea to have a living will that specifies your wishes for medical care if you’re unable to communicate those wishes to your doctor. At the very least, a health care proxy gives you the ability to select someone you trust to make decisions healthy seniors on bikesabout your medical care.

Do yourself a favor (and for those who love you) and visit this link on how to create your own living will or advanced medical directive. Each state has different laws regarding living wills but the Resources link will help you sort that out.

Denial is a big river. But when the boat starts to take on water, you might wish you had a can to bail it out. It wouldn’t hurt to do a little planning for when the day comes that you’re unable to express yourself. And therein lies a poignant irony. Boomers are known for expressing themselves, and yet, the death denial response is so strong that we/they/you cannot bring ourselves to plan for that inevitable day. The river doesn’t flow forever.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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