At Tough Conversations we’re constantly looking for resources to inform us about end-of-life decision-making and support. A great resource is Five Wishes®, the “first living will that talks about your personal, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as your medical needs.” Like any document that deals with serious illness and end-of-life concerns, you should ideally discuss with family members before deciding whether to complete it.
Five Wishes® meets the legal requirements in 42 states and the District of Columbia and has helped millions of people plan for and receive the kind of care they want. Five Wishes® is unique among all other advance directives and living wills because it is user-friendly and easy to complete. It is available in 26 languages and in Braille.
Five Wishes® began when Jim Towey, Mother Teresa’s legal advisor, was working and living in her Washington, DC-based hospice. Mother Teresa’s life and work became the inspirational basis for the document, which has been called “the first living will with a heart and soul.”
Copies of Five Wishes® are available for $5 each (only $1 each in quantities of 25 or more) from Aging with Dignity, P.O. Box 1661, Tallahassee FL, visiting the website: www.agingwithdignity.org, or calling 888-5-WISHES. A national non-profit organization, Aging with Dignity’s mission is to affirm and safeguard the dignity of individuals as they age and to promote better care for those near the end of life.
We believe that the 12-page document has value for all of us. It contains a wealth of information regarding end of life treatment and support. Here is an abbreviated version of the document:
Wish 1: The Person I Want to Make Health Care Decisions for Me When I Can’t Make Them for Myself
Wish 2: My Wish for the Kind of Medical Treatment I Want or Don’t Want
Wish 3. My Wish for How Comfortable I Want to Be
Wish 4: My Wish For How I Want People to Treat Me
Wish 5: My Wish for What I Want My Loved Ones to Know
We hope you’ll look into Five Wishes® and consider whether and how it can assist you and your family members decide on how to best plan for end-of-life decision-making.