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Dear NP

Dear NP,

During my recent hospital admission, the nurse asked if I have an advance directive or a living will. I am only 55 years old. What are these documents, and are they necessary at my age? S. S.

Dear S. S.,

Aging is something that will happen to all of us, eventually. It’s scary to think about, but this is why it’s so important to plan ahead, whether it’s for you or a loved one.

Unfortunately, according to the CDC, many people don’t plan ahead – according to the CDC, up to 70% of Americans do not have an advance care plan. Fifty-five may feel a bit early to start planning, but the whole...