We've uncovered the top 5 prevailing myths that can sometimes discourage people from taking active control of their future health care.
1. It's just for old people
We tend to live our lives as if we are invincible, however sudden, life-changing events can happen to anyone, at any time. In fact, a third of Australians will die before the age of 75. Just as you would plan for other major life events like retirement, it’s worth planning your care in advance so that you are well-prepared, no matter what the future brings.
2. It's morbid
Death and taxes are the only two certainties in life, so it seems peculiar that squeamishness about dying prevails. Death is a side effect of living and a natural part of life. It’s not morbid nor does it hasten death. Instead, conversations about advance care planning should be considered an important part of healthy ageing.
3. It requires a doctor
While you can develop an advance care directive with the assistance of a solicitor, it is not a legal requirement. You will however need to have the legal forms signed by a doctor, who can help you develop a plan that is clear, coherent and aligns with your values.
4. It's about dying
It may come as a surprise but writing an advance care directive is one of the most life-affirming things you can do. Advance care planning is less about dying and more a powerful statement about who we are, how we want to live and what we value most about living. It’s also one of the most loving gifts we can offer our family and those left to make difficult decisions should we become too sick to speak for ourselves.
5. It's too hard
While advance care planning requires some thought and discussion about your values and preferences, it’s less difficult than you might think. Access to the legal forms is free (though they do differ from state to state). Free personalised support is also available through Advance Care Planning Australia’s national advisory service. Call 1300 208 582, 9am – 5pm (AEST) Monday to Friday.