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The role of advance directives in long-term care planning

Most people enjoy the autonomy of making decisions for themselves. They may take pleasure in choosing their own homes, associating with the people they enjoy, and working in careers where they feel successful and valued. The right to live one's life as they see fit is enjoyed by Colorado residents and many others throughout the nation.

However, it is a sad fact that as people age, it can be harder and harder for them to manage the important decisions that go along with living independently. Particularly when an illness or injury prevents them from maintaining their physical and mental abilities, many older individuals find themselves dependent on the assistance and care of other people. When life becomes more difficult for a person to manage, they may need to take legal steps to protect their rights and choices about the future.

Individuals may do this through the execution of advance directives. Advance directives are documents that give certain powers to other people regarding the financial and health care decisions of the advance directive's creator. Through an advance directive a person may allow another to make money decisions for them if the document creator becomes incapacitated. In the context of medical care an advance directive can give a named party the power to make health care choices for the creator if they are unable to do so on their own.

Advance directives are important long-term care planning documents and can be discussed with attorneys who practice in the elder law and estate planning fields. They allow individuals to retain some control over their futures even when they begin to lose the power to do so on their own.

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