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What Is Aging With Dignity’s Five Wishes?

What is Aging with Dignity’s Five Wishes?

Aging with Dignity is an organization that defends seniors’ rights to respect, autonomy, and long-term medical care. It offers advance care planning through a document outline known as Five Wishes, where seniors can specify wishes for their own care.

The Five Wishes document ensures that every aspect of your life is under your control, even when you can no longer make decisions. Here are the wishes you will find outlined in the Five Wishes document:

1. Who Can Make Care Decisions for You When You Can’t

The first wish in the document allows you to name the people who are allowed to make medical decisions for you if you become unable. 

This often happens for seniors who have cognitive and memory problems. If you legally cannot make decisions for yourself, it’s important that someone you trust can take over for you. They can make sure your wishes are granted in health care and long-term care plans. 

The Five Wishes document allows you to list multiple people, in case your first choice falls through. This can include cases of divorce, death, or an unwilling decision-maker. 

2. The Kinds of Medical Treatments You Want (Or Don’t Want)

Aging with Dignity believes it is important to specify what kinds of medical care you are willing or unwilling to receive. 

The Five Wishes document helps you describe in detail what you want for yourself as far as medical treatments, comfort measures, and end-of-life care. This can include life support wishes, pain management guidelines, and other care. 

Without these specific directions, your medical care may not look the way you want it to. In cases where you are unable to speak for yourself, the Five Wishes document speaks for you. 

3. Comfort Measures 

The third wish focuses on the steps you want your caregivers to take to keep you comfortable. Most possible scenarios are outlined under this wish, including cases of fevers, nausea, and personal grooming. 

It’s very important to outline exactly what you want, even in these details. Long-term care facilities and medical institutions may do things differently than you would like. 

Comfort is your right as a human being, and you deserve to get the type of care that you want. 

4. How You Want People to Treat You

Human connection is one of the most important things in life, and the fourth wish outlines what you want as far as personal treatment. 

Spirituality and faith are important to millions of people. This wish gives you control over how people interact with you in every scenario. It includes options for end-of-life music, religious visits, and religious community involvement. 

Having the connections and treatment that you want from other people can make the aging process less stressful and more fulfilling for you. Make sure to be clear, direct, and honest about what you want from the people in your life. 

5. What You Want People to Know Before You Go

In scenarios where you are unable to communicate at the end of your life, the fifth wish takes over. 

This wish specifies what you want the people around you to know before you pass away. Many people want to extend forgiveness to people they previously had conflict with. Some want family members to seek professional help after their death if they need it. 

These wishes are vital because they give your loved ones a lasting legacy to remember you by. 

Plan Your Future with Five Wishes 

At every stage of life, it’s always a good idea to start preparing for the future. And with Aging with Dignity’s Five Wishes plan, you can decide how you want to be cared for in the future — on your terms.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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