This holiday season may look and feel different from previous years with COVID-19 continuing to permeate people’s lives across the globe. Recent reports state 342,500 cases of COVID-19 in Canada1 and more than a quarter-of-a-million deaths south of the border, the rate and the impact associated with all this is beyond staggering.

In a time with so much loss, anxiety, and unknowns, there are some ways people can work to rebuild a sense of control as it relates to their own life and death. One way to do this is by having a conversation with your family and loved ones this holiday season about the importance of making an advance medical care plan in the event you develop a serious illness, like COVID-19 pneumonia. Think of this act as a token of love to your family, as you are giving them the gift of planning this holiday.

Recent research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society highlights that people who engaged in advance medical care planning reported a greater sense of control over their health care, improved communication between them, their family members and their clinicians, and increased satisfaction with their medical care they receive. Importantly, they were much more likely to get medical care, that was right for them (consistent with their values and preferences)2. Also, advance medical care planning was shown to reduce the burden and conflict among loved ones and reduced stress, anxiety and depression in surviving family members3. This is why it is critical that people are taking the time this holiday season to sit down and speak with their family about their values and preferences for medical care if they became seriously ill. The best gift you can give this year is the gift of planning, not only will this benefit yourself and your loved ones but it also does not cost any money!  It will just require some of your time, which many of us have more of these days as a result of being home much more due to the pandemic.

To further help support you in having these conversations with your family this holiday season, we encourage you to visit Plan Well Guide and watch this short three-minute video which highlights the importance of planning and ensuring you have an advance medical care plan in place.

Now that you’ve watched that video, we hope you understand more about how Plan Well Guide can support you in your advance medical care planning journey and actually making your plan, which is the real gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones this holiday season.

We encourage people to think about what it is they want when it comes to their values and preferences for medical care if they were to contract COVID-19 disease (or other serious illnesses). We want people to dig deep and make a plan.

We know that many adults are used to visiting with parents or older family members during this time of year, and understand things will be different; however, there are some ways you can still safely celebrate this holiday season. At Plan Well Guide, we strongly recommend that you talk to older family members and take an interest in their health and well-being along with their values and preferences as it relates to medical treatment. Caring means learning what matters the most to them, as it relates to their future life and death. A helpful saying, we like to reference at Plan Well Guide when thinking about advance medical care plans is, ‘In order to keep you ticking, we need to know what makes you tick’. If you have older family members, do them a favor by encouraging them to do their advance care planning and if you will be their substitute decision-making, do yourself a favor by learning ‘what makes them tick!’ You can discuss all of this with them over a phone call, safe distanced visit or virtually, via Zoom calls or FaceTime.

This holiday season, give the gift of planning and check out www.planwellguide. We wish you and your loved ones the best for the season and a safe and positive year ahead.


[2] McMahan, Ryan D., et al. Deconstructing the Complexities of Advance Care Planning Outcomes: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go? A Scoping Review. 7 Sept. 2020,

[3] McMahan, Ryan D., et al. Deconstructing the Complexities of Advance Care Planning Outcomes: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go? A Scoping Review. 7 Sept. 2020,

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