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Articles & Guides

Beyond Roses and Chocolates: A Meaningful Valentine's Day Conversation About Advance Directives

On this Valentine’s Day, I want to talk about advance directive documents. It may not be romantic, and you may not be able to watch a rom-com movie about these conversations. However, Valentine’s Day is (or should be) all about honoring the wishes of those you love (romantically or otherwise). Being chosen as someone’s “person” for healthcare decisions is the greatest way to honor someone and be there for them when illness or accident renders them unable to be their own voice for healthcare choices.

The Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry ( allows all Arizonans over the age of 18 to register any one of their advance directive documents to help ensure that they are accessible to healthcare providers when and where they are needed.

Advance directives are about choice. No matter what decisions you would make for your healthcare, you can document them on an advance directive. These are documents of choice and not of limitation.

On Valentine’s Day, we choose the people in our lives that we want to love, honor and support. AzHDR wants you to “Choose Your Person” and document who this is so that if the time comes when you cannot communicate to your healthcare providers, you have ensured that the person who knows you best and can honor your choices will be able to communicate for you.

So, along with bringing home a bouquet of roses (that will wilt) or going out to a restaurant (loud and crowded), I suggest the perfect gift – a conversation about what is important to you, what successful living means to you, and what you would want or not want if your health is put at risk.

If you are looking for advance directive documents, you can find them at, along with conversation starters, FAQs, and an easy way to register your documents (see “Related Articles & Guides” below). If you are not in Arizona, you can still benefit from the resources available on this site to learn more about advance care planning.


Carla Sutter

Director, Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry | Contexture

Carla is the Director, Arizona Healthcare Directives Registry (AzHDR) for Contexture, Arizona’s Health Information Exchange (HIE). She holds a master’s degree in Social Work and has spent her 30-year career working with organizations dedicated to helping clients and families care for themselves and others whose needs are changing due to age or illness. Carla has focused on end-of-life tools and conversations and has served as a trainer and facilitator for advance care directives and POLST documents. She is also the author of Where Do We Begin: A Guide to Elder Caregiving.