The holidays are a time when family and friends gather. Dr. Maisha Robinson, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, says it’s also a good time to consider talking about living wills.

“It’s one of the best gifts you can give a loved one, so they can honor your wishes and preferences rather than trying to make them for you,” says Dr. Robinson.

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Dr. Robinson says the holidays — when families and friends are gathered together — are the perfect time to talk about what you’d like to have happen if you get sick and can’t make medical decisions for yourself.

She also says that selecting a health care surrogate is important.

“You want to select somebody, No. 1, that knows enough about your medical situation to be able to make decisions in the context of those conditions. No. 2, you need to select somebody who is actually going to be able to carry out your wishes,” says Dr. Robinson.

And No. 3, choose someone who can be reached quickly.

Talking about it when you’re healthy is vital. 

“Talk with your family members. Talk with your friends. Talk with the people that you listed to help you make medical decisions, and then also talk with your physician so that everybody will be on the same page whenever that times comes,” says Dr. Robinson.

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