Why Is It Important To Have An Advanced Directive (Living Will)?

Recently, a man asked me to be his healthcare proxy on his Advance Directive.  I asked why not one of his kids or his wife, and he said, “They’ll want to just “keep me alive” and I don’t want that if I have a terminal illness.  I want someone I can trust to follow my wishes.” 
Before agreeing, I encouraged him to first use the One Slide Project (engagewithgrace.com) as a guide to a family discussion regarding his end-of-life care and create an Advance Directive that let his family know his wishes.  And if they couldn’t agree to his preferences, then I would be his proxy – fortunately, he didn’t need me!
Seniors tell me they do not want CPR (CardioPulmonary Resuscitation) or any kind of artificial life support.  But, some have not told their family.  Then, when I write an order for A.N.D. (Allow Natural Death, or DNR – Do Not attempt Resuscitation), the children become upset that I’m “letting her die”. 
The realities are that 90% of us die from a chronic disease, CPR is a futile and undignified procedure for seniors, and the only option we really have is “how comfortable and peaceful do you want to be”. 
Families need to discuss end-of-life issues:   what’s important, what do we value, how do we want our death to be remembered.  
Although an Advance Directive ensures that a court will follow your wishes should someone question decisions about your care, the most important point is that your family knows your wishes.