Welcome to adulthood, 18-year-old! You can register to vote, get a tattoo and go skydiving without a parent’s permission, buy fireworks and cigars, sign up for the military, and even sue someone.
Mom and Dad, if you’re the ones reading this—maybe you’re getting ready to send your 18-year-old off to college or saying good luck as they move to their own apartment.
One thing that often goes overlooked when 17-year-olds become 18? Creating a living will.
And it’s important.
The significance of creating an advance directive becomes clearer with age. The older we get, the more prone we are to certain illnesses, accidents, and hospitalization—and the more we tend to consider the reality of needing to consider end-of-life care.
But it behooves young people to take control of their future—and their healthcare—and seriously consider their own end-of-life care. In all likelihood, they will not need it. But accidents can happen, and the security of a living will can prevent a bad situation from becoming much more tragic.
As cited in Forbes, “The risk is real. Accidents are the leading cause of death for young adults, and a quarter-million Americans between 18 and 25 are hospitalized with nonlethal injuries each year.”
Many of the cases that shaped living will laws involved young people, such as 21-year-old Karen Ann Quinlan’s alcohol and valium induced coma, and 25-year-old Nancy Cruzan’s feeding tube sustenance following a bad car accident.
In the case of an accident without a living will, important decisions about medical treatment will be left to someone else.
If you’ve recently turned 18, 19, 20, or 21—or whatever the number may be—then it’s time to start exercising your adult right to control your own healthcare, including your end-of-life care. It starts here.
Parents, you can help. When you’re sending your young adults off to college this fall or congratulating them on landing a job in their target career, add them to your Keystone Digital Living Will family plan to give them the gift of smart healthcare.