Harvard Men's Health Watch

Make your end-of-life wishes known

Healthcare proxies and advance directives help ensure you get only the kind of care you want.

What kind of medical care would you want if you were unable to express your wishes yourself? Would you want indefinite measures to sustain your life no matter what?

No one likes to dwell on the possibility of an incapacitating accident or terminal illness, but not planning comes with risks. "You could end up getting care that will keep you alive but puts you in a state that you find intolerable or unacceptable," says Dr. Anne Fabiny, chief of geriatrics at Cambridge Health Alliance and medical editor of Living Wills, a Harvard Medical School Special Health Report.

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