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How to plan for your future care


Advance care planning is a part of healthy aging, not only for those facing serious illness. OptumCare® offers advance care planning to help you talk with your loved ones and doctor about the care you want if your condition changes and you can't speak for yourself. 

One out of every three people will need someone to make decisions for them at some point. It’s best to be prepared. Establishing your plan now can reduce stress and give you and your loved ones peace of mind. 

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Start the conversation 

Advance care planning starts with a conversation. By talking about your values, wishes and beliefs, your loved ones and doctor will know exactly what you want. 

However, talking about this topic can be difficult. Try starting with these phrases:

  • "I need your help with something.”
  • “I need to think about the future. Will you help me?”
  • “I’d like to let you know what I want.”

Choose a health care agent

Once you start advance care planning, you need to select a health care agent to speak on your behalf. Your agent can be a friend or family member who will:

  • Be your advocate. 
  • Talk with your loved ones about your care.
  • Make sure your decisions are upheld.

Document your plan 

Put your wishes and choices in writing in an advance directive. This will be used to help make decisions for you if you can’t speak for yourself. Share this plan with your loved ones. Be sure to review it when life changes or you change your mind on something. 


  • What is advance care planning?

  • Why is it important?

  • How do I start?

  • What's an advance directive?

  • What's a health care power of attorney?

  • Who should I talk to about my advance care plan?

  • I was recently diagnosed with a serious illness. What do I do now?

  • What is palliative care?

  • What is POLST?

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Helpful information for our patients

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Conversation starter kit

Visit the Conversation Project to learn more helpful ways to start the conversation.

How to join

No matter your stage of life, we're here to meet your health care needs every step of the way.


Find a convenient OptumCare location near you.