Transitions With Jean Blog

Open that envelope!

Apr 5, 2024

Dear Jean,

A while ago, you talked about the importance of making an “advance directive”. I finally finished mine and put it in my
safe-deposit box for security. I named my daughter as my health care agent. Should I give her a copy too?


Yes, give her a copy. Do not stop there. Open that envelope!

An advance directive is also called a health care power of attorney. In it, you name someone (a health care agent) to speak for you if something happens and you are unable to manage your own health care decisions.

Imagine the scenario if this important paperwork is only in your safe deposit box. If you need emergency medical care, no one will have permission to speak for you – not even your spouse. No one will know your wishes.

It would be a stressful time for your family. Minutes might matter, and this could take days.

Imagine further, that they never find the document until it is too late. Since you never talked about it, they had to guess
your wishes and make decisions on their own. What if everything they decided was different from what they are reading
now as your wishes. They will second-guess everything they did.

A second scenario is that you have given your doctor your advance directive and he/she put it in your digital record.

With the click of a button, access to it would be immediate. Everyone from the first responders to the emergency room
doctors will know your daughter has permission to speak for you.

You asked if you if you should give her a copy, absolutely. Take it one step further, open that envelope and talk about it.
Sit down with her and with the rest of the family and tell them what you want. Answer their questions. This is not
morbid. This is life.

To the rest of you, who are starting to see the value of an advance directive, there is free help for you to get yours done
and filed.

We have the Fox Valley Advance Care Planning Partnership. It is a big name, but more importantly, they have a big goal:
To get everyone to put their advance directive on file with their doctor.

Their website is Their phone is 920-997-8412. Their director, Bobbie Thompson, would love to talk to
you about whatever part of the process you need help with.

On Friday, April 19, they have a free Advance Directive/Power of Attorney for Health Care class at the Thompson Center
on Lourdes, 2331 E. Lourdes Dr., Appleton. You can go from 9:30-11:00 am or 1-2:30 pm. They will have free documents
for you. Register at 920-939-3088. Did I mention it is free?

You can get forms from FVACPP or from your doctor. Do not just get the form and think you are finished. Fill it out, file
it, and TALK to the person you want to designate as your “voice”, so they will know your wishes and can make them

Jean Long Manteufel writes a column on the first Sunday of each month about life changes associated with aging. Send your
questions to or call 920-734-3260.