Thinking about end-of-life decisions is hard for everyone, including those diagnosed with Parkinson's. The reality is that any one of us could need medical treatment due to a traumatic event or injury, and letting others know how we want to be cared for is very important. Sometimes, when we get a diagnosis like Parkinson's, we fear what end stages could be like. By being proactive and developing an advanced directive, you gain control in making sure your wishes are honored by those who love you and the medical team that will support you.
An advanced directive is a written document or series of forms that must be signed to be binding. The documents indicate an individual's choice about medical treatment. The advanced directive explains how you want medical decisions about you to be made if you cannot make the decisions yourself. An advanced directive lets your health care team and loved ones know what kind of health care you want and most importantly don't want - or who you want to make decisions on your behalf should you be unresponsive or incapacitated.
Being diagnosed with Parkinson's doesn't increase the urgency of needing to complete an advanced directive. However, it is a good practice to put into place regardless of a diagnosis. There are many ways you can go about creating your advanced directives. It doesn't necessarily need to be completed by an attorney. There are several legally accepted documents that can be downloaded from the internet for completion that you can get witnessed and notarized very affordably yourself.
In this section, we go over what it means to identify and name a Health Care Proxy, and how to build your directives. Some people with neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson's are curious about brain donation. We explore what that looks like as well in case it should be included or considered in your advanced directives.
Disclaimer: At PAA, our desire is to be a GO TO Resource for everything you need for the Parkinson's diagnosis to live a quality life with PD. We want to make sure you have all resources you need as you plan your journey with Parkinson's now and into the future so that you can reflect and discern what decisions you want to make with the appropriate insights to help you choose and build a plan that is unique as your journey. The PAA, nor the contents on this website, should never be a replacement for professional expertise and guidance from medical, legal, or financial professionals. Our goal is to equip you for those conversations. As such, the PAA cannot be held accountable for your choices and outcomes while navigating your Parkinson's condition.