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As we age, it is the unfortunate fact that sometimes we become so physically or mentally incapacitated that we can no longer make our own medical care decisions. This is why it’s important to appoint someone — be it an adult child, a friend or a professional — to the role of health care agent. This individual is vested with the ability per the law to make choices regarding your medical care. However, when adult children in Kansas City or other relatives disagree with the health care agent’s decisions, this can cause tensions to rise.

For this reason, it is important that you let your loved ones know what your medical care wishes are ahead of time, so they know what to expect. In addition, you may want to put these decisions in writing, letting your family members know not only who you’ve chosen as your health care agent, but also why. Finally, if you do not want certain relatives being a part of your health care decisions, put it in writing and share this information both with your relatives and your health care agent.

There are a number topics that are important for you to discuss with your loved ones when it comes to your end-of-life medical care decisions. For example, you may want to discuss how it is important for your loved ones to honor your wishes, even if they disagree with them. This includes advocating for you to ensure your wishes are honored, even if those are not the decisions the loved one would make for themselves. In addition, it is important to discuss the extent to which your relatives will seek out information about your health should you become incapacitated, along with any advance directives that may be in place.

While talking about end-of-life care may not be the most pleasant conversation, it is an important one. Knowing what to expect can sometimes ease the grief that comes with a loved one’s last days. Through proper care planning, you can make sure your loved ones are informed of your decisions.

Source:, “Advance care planning: What if family members disagree?,” Jan. 26, 2016