LIVE at HOME. Your Goal. Our Priority!

888-895-PACE (7223)*

*not for medical emergencies or to discuss participant details

LIVE at HOME. Your Goal. Our Priority!

888-895-PACE (7223)*

*not for medical emergencies or to discuss participant details

Advance Care Planning: Choosing Your Advocate

senior mother and adult daughter laughing on bench

Who Will Be On Your Team?

Selecting Your Health Care Proxy

As we continue our focus on advance care planning, we need to talk about something very important: choosing your advocate. This person will also be your health care proxy—someone who can make decisions regarding your care when you are not able to. In some cases, this may be your son or daughter. However, if your spouse has passed away and you never had kids, you need to carefully consider who will be “on your team” as you age and prepare for your end-of-life wishes. 

Here are a few important considerations.

Ask; don’t assume. Before you write down the name of a neighbor or friend in important paperwork, make sure you verbally ask this person if they will serve in this capacity. While anyone can successfully serve as an advocate and health care proxy, it is not a role to take on lightly. It is so important to verify that they agree and are comfortable with taking on this responsibility.

Be clear on your expectations. Sadly, in many scenarios, children do not know what their parents would want in a certain situation—because they never discussed it. While you will not be able to prepare your advocate for every single scenario that could arise, you will give them a general idea of your morals, your values, and what is important to you at the end of your life. This will empower them to make decisions that are most in line with your wishes.

Take your time in selecting your advocate. The Conversation Project has some great recommendations for choosing a health care proxy.

  • Will this person make decisions in line with your wishes? Keep in mind that their wishes may be different from your own.
  • Will they have a hard time making decisions because their emotional connection to you would get in the way? This is sometimes why a parent will choose a close friend or another family member aside from their own child.
  • Will they be comfortable speaking up? They need to advocate for you in all situations, which may mean speaking up to get the attention of a doctor or other care professional.
  • Will the person be good at making decisions in changing circumstances? Their primary responsibility is to make decisions that are in line with the wishes you expressed for your end-of-life care.

If you have questions about advance care planning, please do not hesitate to reach out to our team. We can connect you with professionals in Cuyahoga County that can assist you and your family.

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