Whoever commented that life begins at 50 probably had the right idea. After all, as you approach your golden years, you likely have overcome many obstacles and are now ready to focus on doing the things that make your life happy. But, as you get older, you will want to have a plan for your health care if there is a problem.

While heart disease, cancer and accidents are the leading causes of death in Florida, any accident or illness can lead to a person’s demise. While planning for end of life care is difficult, older people should lay out their health care wishes in an advance health care directive to make the process easier for themselves and their family. Here are four things you should consider when you are creating your advance health care directives.

1.A medical power of attorney

Under normal circumstances, you are likely the best person to make your own medical decisions. Of course, illness and injury may make you incapable of choosing the right course of action. With a medical power of attorney, you name a trusted friend, relative or confidant who can make those decisions in your stead.

2. Life-sustaining treatment

Whether because of a serious injury, a chronic condition or age, individuals sometimes need life-sustaining treatment. That is, without medication or medical equipment, a person may not be able to continue to live. Before a person is put in this state, it is a good idea to think about what kinds of life support they would want to receive. By recording their wishes in a living will, they will give their family and medical professionals a clear idea of what to do if the situation arises.

3. Resuscitation

Modern medicine provides a variety of ways for emergency responders, physicians and others to resuscitate a person after they are technically dead. Of course, for personal, religious or other reasons, a person may not want medical professionals to resuscitate them. If you do not wish to be resuscitated, recording your wishes in a formal document is recommended.

4. Organ and tissue donation

The unfortunate reality is that everyone will eventually pass away. But, even after death, a person’s organs and body tissue may be able to give someone else a second chance at life. If you want to donate parts of your body after your death, you may want to consider both writing down your wishes and informing your relatives of them. On the other hand, if you want your organs and tissue to stay with your body, then your living will should reflect that.

Unfortunately, many Americans fail to plan for the final years of their lives. Even though preparing for medical treatment and end-of-life care can be uncomfortable, drafting some advance medical directives is an effective way to maintain control over your health and future.