Advance Directives For End of Life Care: Gifts to Give and Receive

Nov 1, 2022 | Aging Successfully

Power of AttorneyHello Everyone,

It’s moving week for me so I selected a favorite post to share with you, one full of gifts that we can “Give and Get”.

If there were a way to get something you want and give a gift at the same time, would you consider it? 

Advance Directives for end-of-life care achieve this. A Give, and a Get.

Have you ever wanted to call the shots or lay out how you want things to go? And be reinforced for doing so? How about if the Giver gets a gift, too? How about if the Receiver gets a gift, as well, one that can last for years? Would you be interested? 

April 16 is National Healthcare Decision Day (NHDD). It’s the perfect time to create Advance Directives for end-of-life care. (Those of you who follow my work know that I tend to get a little ve-he-ment around NHDD-time in my work and media 😀 ). 

Here’s how this gift-thing works, how to give and how to receive. 

Relative to healthcare, Advance Directives are about figuring out what you want and then telling someone. It’s about telling them and tasking them with carrying out what you want.

To me, Advance Directives are the most important documents you may ever consider, more important than a will. My Advance Directives for end-of-life care enables me to put into play the one thing I’ve learned that most of us want.


“We can all have a say about how things will go and where we will end up.” 

Simply put, most of us want “to have a say about how things will go and where will end up.”  This is a quote from a friend named Dee, who’d simply uttered it in the middle of a thought. When I heard it, I had that tumblers-fell-into-place and a lock-opened experience. Then and there, I knew it to be true for me and many.

Polls and personal experience tell us that many, as we age, will fear losing our independence and our control. We want to make the decisions and have things go our way. Because of this fear, many avoid discussing healthcare or legal matters and exploring our options.  We are missing an opportunity. I think when we do not discuss our power, if you will. We likely avoid asking questions, the questions whose very answers can result in fulfillment, satisfaction, and peace. 

But think about it. By way of some thought and decision and then conveyance of our wishes can indeed be exactly how we will care for ourselves. We control and retain our independence, and we have that say (about how things will go and where we’ll end up). We can direct our Team (that we select!) by using a written document – Advance Directives for end-of-life care – which we set forth.

It takes only a little thought and effort to learn our options and decide upon what we want. 

Then we put it on paper. 

Then we convey it to someone we trust will implement our plans and fulfill our wishes.

 It’s that simple.


Give – and Get – The Gifts

I tell a longer version of my impactful story of my family’s planning, but here’s the quick one:

Having been called to my parent’s home one night for a mysterious meeting, I found myself at the dining room table with them, their attorney, their financial professional, and my sister and brother-in-law. There, seated with my parents and their Team, we daughters were brought in on The Plan. Mom, Dad, and their Team laid out and fully explained their planning and the wishes of our parents. We daughters learned of our roles as “Agents” through the Power of Attorney documents and discussed what my parents’ Living Wills indicated that day. We’d come back together if anything were to change or require change (and for us, change did occur).

We each agreed to fill out a Five Wishes document and return for another family meeting. That document turned out to be both an educational and thought-provoking exercise and a vehicle for making our wishes known to one another. We set our intention to “same page” and to revisit. “Talk Early, Talk Often,” we’d always heard.

Later, when care decisions were needed, my sister and I relied upon that meeting and referenced our parents’ Advance Directives for end-of-life care. Our parents had shown us what to do, what they had envisioned, and what they wanted. We were to be their Agents to make that happen. We knew and understood our duties.

Ultimately we Agents were called into action. We made decisions with, and later for, our parents per what they had planned and shared. Here came the gifts!


What followed was a cascade of gifts

Gift One: What a gift for our parents, to themselves, and to each other as spouses to take this action!

Gift Two: What a gift for us daughters so we would know what they wanted, know what to do, and would know their Team. We could feel steadfast in our decisions. We had Go-To’s for support and clarification.

Gift Three: Our parents got another gift from this planning. Because they knew their daughters were doing what they wanted, they each felt comfortable and peaceful. “Baton passed.” 

Gift Four: (and the remaining gift that still gives and sustains today and every day?) My sister and I know we did our jobs to the best of our ability. It wasn’t perfect, but it was done with honor, drawing from our ability and knowledge at the time. We carried out their wishes and executed their Plan. Our parents got their work done through us. 

Today we recognize the gifts, and we have one more to carry forward in life:

Gift Five: Our own honor and peace. We’ve learned by example and by doing. We also learned what to consider – as we consider – our own instructions for our Advanced Directives.

A little thought, some documentation, and conveyance are all it takes “to have a say in how things will go and where we’ll end up.” This is the pathway to the gifts. Gifts to ourselves and for another, to be given, received it and put into play. And that last gift that results in long-lasting peace and honor? Priceless.


Want to build a plan and “have a say about how things will go and where you’ll end up”? You are invited to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn more about Nancy’s services at