By Lesia R. Henderson - Contributing columnist
Lesia Henderson -

I would like to ask a very important question, “Do you have your advance directive in place?”

You may ask, “What is an advance directive?”

Advance directives are a way of making your voice heard when you are no longer able to communicate. Advance directives allow a person to appoint someone to make health care decisions for them when they can no longer communicate, advance directives are not just for the elderly; all people who desire to direct their medical care in the future should want to complete an advance directive.

According to here are some facts:

*A lawyer may be helpful with the completion of these matters, but one is not required.

*You can withdraw, change or revoke your advance directive at any time you choose.

*You can designate information regarding organ donation in most advance directive documents.

*An advance directive is purely optional. However you should consider an advance directive if you want to be sure your voice is heard when you can no longer communicate, you want to be sure that your wishes are respected and followed in the event that you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself.

It would be impossible for me to cover all aspects of an advance directive in one article. I am just giving you some highlights.

My father passed away Jan. 2004. He did not have dementia. He died of complications from pneumonia. Wreitzel Royal was a very wise man. A few years prior to his death he informed me of his wishes. At first I was reluctant to listen to his plans. After many discussions and feeling more comfortable about our conversations, I understood what he was trying to accomplish. My father wanted me to know his desire for a natural death. He wanted to inform me of his living will. He wanted to make sure when we signed the healthcare power of attorney forms what responsibilities went with that document.

My father and I talked many times about death and his wishes. I cherish those discussions I had with my father. It was a gift from him when death came. You see I knew just what to do. I knew exactly what my dad wanted. I knew exactly how he wanted things carried out. I knew where his safety deposit box was and the contents. I knew where his pre-need burial was. I knew where all his documents were. I knew who to contact. I honored the wishes of my father and though it was a very emotional time I had direction and content of knowing I was doing the right thing. Yes, my friend “Peace of Mind’ is a gift.

When you are a family living with dementia, or any family for that matter, I encourage you to get your documents in order. Do not hesitate! Remember this will be a gift to your love ones, a gift of peace and the gift of knowing you are doing the right thing. We plan all our lives for vacations, for birthdays, for weddings, for Christmas, etc. When we plan ahead we make better, well-informed decisions.

I have an Advance Directive Workshop coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Please give me a call 910-592-4653 or e-mail [email protected] for more information. I encourage you to come and get your documents in order.

Hope you have a “Best Day Ever”.

Lesia Henderson Henderson

By Lesia R. Henderson

Contributing columnist

Lesia Henderson is a Positive Approach to Care Independent Trainer and Sampson County Department of Aging Family Caregiver Support Specialist.

Lesia Henderson is a Positive Approach to Care Independent Trainer and Sampson County Department of Aging Family Caregiver Support Specialist.