Aging Well


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Advance Care Planning

Life can change suddenly. We never know when we might be injured seriously in a car accident, suffer from a stroke or experience some other sudden injury or illness.

These types of situations can leave people unable to speak for themselves, and family members and health-care providers may be uncertain about how to proceed with their care. 

Advance care planning can help you be prepared for the unexpected. It is the process of deciding your own future health care and communicating these wishes in the form of a written health care directive.


How do you prepare a directive?

  • Think about what would be important to you (based on your personal values and beliefs) if you become very ill or are injured seriously.
  • Understand medical treatment options. Talk with your health-care provider if necessary.
  • Discussion your thoughts, concerns and choices with those close to you.
  • Choose a loved one to speak for you if you no longer can speak for yourself.
  • Prepare a health care directive.

NDSU Extension has resources on its Aging Well website ( to help you. You also can contact your local county Extension office for more information.

Source: Jane Strommen, NDSU Extension Gerontology Specialist, 701-231-5948,

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