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Advance care planning is for everyone older than 18

To the editor:

After reading the article regarding Advance Care Planning in Alexandria [Echo Press, March 14, 2014, Page 1], I thought to make you aware of a certification that is currently being taught at St. Cloud State University through the gerontology program. I, along with about 30 other students, have been taught, trained intensely and are now certified advance care planning facilitators. We can facilitate end-of-life discussions and assist in fully completing advance care directives.

Too often, community members have thought, “That will never happen to me or my family,” or, “My family knows what I want, there’s no need to write it down,” only to be caught off guard when unexpected tragedy occurs. Anyone older than the age of 18 should have an advance care directive and it should be reviewed at least every 10 years and after every life milestone (marriage, children, divorce, change in health status, etc.).

Advance care planning does not involve planning for your death, but instead for the remaining quality of your life. Thanks to the Patient Self-Determination Act, we all have the right to choose how we want to die.

We should all take advantage of putting our wishes into writing before it’s too late to communicate.