Five Wishes: The Aging With Dignity Guide

Rosey landscape

by Kim Keller

The decisions we made still haunt me. And I suppose they always will.

It’s not that I think we made the wrong choices. In fact, I’m certain we made the right ones. What I can’t shake is the belief that my father should have been leading the discussion about his own healthcare choices.

Instead, he wasn’t even a participant.

My dad had a living will. So my parents thought they were covered when it came to the recommendation, “Have a discussion with your family about end-of-life issues.”

But missing from that recommendation was the word “thorough” — as in, “have a thorough discussion about end-of-life issues.”

The living will only told us that Dad didn’t want to be kept alive by artificial means. What the document never anticipated were all of the other more likely scenarios that could develop. When some of those unforeseen events did ultimately play out, it was too late to secure his input and guidance.

Making these critical decisions for someone we loved so much, such as stopping aggressive medical treatments or starting hospice care, was a major impetus in the creation of In Care of Dad. My sister Karen and I wanted to spread the word: Have those end-of-life discussions before it’s too late, and make them meaningful!

Which often prompts people to ask us, “So how do I do that?”

Well, a great place to start is “Five Wishes,” a PDF of a living will, created by the national non-profit organization, Aging with Dignity. The founder, Jim Towey, worked for many years as a legal adviser to Mother Teresa, and spent one of those years living in a hospice she ran in Washington, DC. The experience motivated him to help families make the hard decisions that come toward the end we all eventually face.

“Five Wishes” is a simple step-by-step guide for making thoughtful end-of-life choices. If your loved one is, or becomes, incapable of making healthcare decisions for him or herself, then this document would clarify his/her wishes regarding:

  1. Who would make care decisions in his/her stead;
  2. The kind of medical treatment that is approved or rejected, such as surgery, hospice care, blood transfusions, dialysis, feeding tubes, as well as when life-support equipment should or shouldn’t be engaged.
  3. Comfort levels, such as pain relief or having one’s favorite music played when near death.
  4. Treatment requests, such as wanting bedside prayer or the wish to die at home.
  5. Specific communication directly to loved ones, from funeral arrangement wishes to asking all family members to respect one’s final choices, even if they don’t agree.

Finally, when the document is complete, you’ll need the signatures of two witnesses, and then the document will need to be notarized. Also outlined in “Five Wishes” are the steps to be taken after the document is finalized, addressing issues like where you should keep the original document, who gets a copy, etc. In addition, there’s a card one can keep in a wallet or purse that directs others, in cases of emergency, to locate your Health Care Agent and to follow these advanced directives.

Although these decisions are appropriately difficult to discuss and undertake, “Five Wishes” makes the rest of the process much simpler. The document is legally recognized in 42 states and the District of Columbia (the list of states is included). Even if your state is not listed, use the document for clarifying the questions that must be addressed.

This is perhaps the hardest discussion for most families to have. When you’re holding onto the last shreds of hope, and wishing for a miracle to save your loved one, it feels like a surrender to talk about death. And when everyone is healthy and happy, it might feel like a jinx. But it’s really neither. It’s just acknowledging an eventuality that everyone of us must face. Think of it only as protecting your loved one’s last wishes during that most human of moments, and making sure you handle things just as they wanted.


Kim Keller is the Co-Founder of In Care of Dad. She lives and works in New York City.

We are happy to re-post this blog from March of 2013.

21 Responses to “Five Wishes: The Aging With Dignity Guide”

  1. Tina says:

    Thank you for your thoughts and the information about the Five Wishes living will. It is perfect timing! My mother has a woefully inadequate living will and the sample in the link is thoughtful, understanding and complete in every way.

  2. Jenifer Monette says:

    As a Hospice nurse I have seen many Advance Directives. I have also seen many deaths of patients in our residential facility, in hospitals and in their homes. This document is the most complete and personable one I have ever seen. I and several of my friends and family, have had this in effect for several years. There are so many opportunities to make the dying process easier for not only a patient but the family also. I highly recommend this for anyone/everyone.

  3. Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no data backup.
    Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

  4. Hi, i beliwve that i saw you visited my website so i came to go back
    the prefer?.I am trying to find issues to enhance my web site!I suppose its good enough to
    use a few of your ideas!!

    Here is my web blog … TAS Rego Check

  5. These are a small child, a large cardboard box and time to
    watch the chaos unfold. ‘When you have a system of dark corridors, where people are not forced
    to face the consequences of their actions, you attract
    those who are prone to mistakes or corruption. At the point when you bounce onto our dating site, you’ll have the consolation of
    realizing that you’re among other people who are additionally hoping to attach.
    It is a little known secret that most sexual dating sites are scams.
    Secondly, out of all the dating apps, Lumen seems to be a more open and trustworthy space.
    A Reuters investigation has found they have served as directors of more than 1,000 businesses:
    poker games, pop-up get-rich-quick schemes, vendors of colon cleansers and healthfoods,
    and much more. I’ve found the same to be true with every
    other file as well. Dr. Shah and colleagues found that
    during the neonatal testosterone surge there is very little AR expressed
    in the developing brain, making it unlikely that testosterone
    signaling via AR plays a major role in masculinizing neural pathways.

    my blog – Webcamsexlivefree.Com

  6. On Monday, Katie was banned from driving for three months and fined £1,500 after being found
    slumped in a ‘very’ drunken state in the back of her vomit-covered pink Range Rover.
    You should feed your dog three small meals
    a day until he is six months old. I’ve worked for the
    three main cam sites, Chaturbate, MFC and Streamate
    and if i had to pick just one, i’d choose
    Chaturbate in a heart beat. I’d encourage them to buy a couple of tokens
    and be a real part of the show they like. Every month we like roleplaying, either some classic ones or related to a video we are releasing at the moment.
    Some of the girls are amateurs or first timers on screen which is what most like to see since it
    is like peeking into someone’s bedroom and watching them have
    great Sex video without them knowing which feels a bit
    naughty even though it’s a video.

  7. Men disagreed with the feminists as a lot as housewives did,
    if no more. Religious individuals have been even against the feminists because the roles that they have been attempting to work themselves into instantly violated biblical roles and
    guidelines for girls. Even president Obama said in a public speech that ladies can do something boys can do only higher.

    The world of brutality and degradation sank to a new low with the
    sequence of grisly discoveries at Cromwell Street, Gloucester in 1994.
    The occupants, Rosemary and her husband Fred West, had
    been accused of murdering 10 women and young girls over a 16 12 months
    period ending in 1987. They’d taken pleasure in luring away vulnerable runaways with gives of rides, lodging or jobs as nannies.

    As the case in opposition to them developed,
    Rose tried increasingly to distance herself from West, claiming that she was additionally a
    sufferer, however police were not convinced of her innocence,
    given the sheer number of murders which had occurred, and her
    participation in the rapes.

    Here is my webpage :: Porn sites video

  8. Once he had recovered from the operation, a control box was attached which enabled him, under his
    doctors’ supervision, to provide a one-second jolt to the brain area of
    his choice. By implanting electrodes into the deepest parts of
    the brain, he could not only examine how this machinery operated, but also – he
    hoped – jolt it back into life. He and his team implanted stainless
    steel, Teflon-coated electrodes into nine separate regions of B-19’s brain, with wires leading back
    out of his skull. Take me down some back alley way, hoist my cheap skirt up, hook my
    knickers to one side and shove your cock up me.

    As you might imagine, it did not take long at all for Chatroulette to be
    invaded by dirty old men. We don’t go looking
    for new men yet a large portion of the men I “date” are
    men from quite a while ago. Heath’s new position made him one of the most powerful men in the Louisiana mental health system.

    my webpage :: Sexy webcam Free

  9. Reports have show this to actually help poor circulation. I have had
    a love, fascination and fetish for pantyhose ever since
    I was a boy. In many societies, the boy child is considered very valuable as he is able to carry the family name as well as taking care
    of family’s properties in the future. Because it is so sane and mature in the
    midst of the past you came from and what goes on in your family.

    The strategies, or defenses, used in the past in order to emotionally survive have outlived their usefulness.
    I have been living in Saudi Arabia for the past 10 years and
    i am an American. In Saudi Arabia Women are not allowed to mix privately
    with any man who is not either their husband or a direct blood relative.
    Pennell was arrested on suspicion of the murder and torture of three women. Moving into the future, you will see more people asking for help through a sexting simulator or
    sex chat bot.

    Here is my web-site – Online webcam Porn

  10. As social media websites continue to rise in terms of popularity understanding
    what information can cause problems if unwittingly shared to total strangers remains of prime importance.

    Social media websites excel to network your method discovering individuals with comparable collections of passions and also specialist preferences.
    Chat rooms are the most effective method whereby we
    could know about societies from across the globe without actually seeing the areas.

    Actually, a few of the very best online chat rooms are typically visited by
    extremely educated people as well as you can conveniently take a look at enhancing your data base.
    Phone dating lines are also great for people who are singles.
    The phone sex chat lines are very helpful for them.
    Now with plenty of options available Online live sex Cam, to
    find an adult chat website for doing sex chat that is reliable and also reasonable
    may not be that easy. To be able to get yourself free from the handles of reality which society imposes in our daily discourse can be quite
    refreshing and subjects that are taboo in the real word can be a topic in adult chat
    rooms. Cam models can choose when to block local IP addresses,
    how to moderate their chatrooms and and where to promote
    online if they want to keep their real identities private, even only filming below the
    neck if they don’t want to show their face.

  11. Cash and one of its affiliates, ImLive on January 4 and only received a response from ImLive three days after informing them
    of the exposed documents. Over the last three years, Kyrgyz classified sites have been full of
    ads for webcam models. “Fancentro (for pay-to-view content), iwantclips (to sell video clips), Just For Fans and CAM4 (live sex on Sexy Webcam
    ) are the four sites I’d direct anyone toward who is looking for support and a
    future in the industry,” says Woods. Forget typical standards and get creative – these are real cam girls performing in real time. According to Askar, up to 100 models can work in shifts in one large studio, and in most cases they get up to 25% of the money earned in the week. As a rule, enterprising businessmen identify the girls who they want to make money off. Working from home in the nude may sound simple, but to make a career out of it, you need to be innovative. Most entrepreneurial skills develop during childhood years, but parents must allow their kids to push their limits and try out their business ideas.

  12. watch free online porn

    blog topic

  13. Pretty element of content. I just stumbled uρon yоur blog and in acⅽession ⅽapital to
    say that I acquire in fact enjoyeԀ accfount your blog posts.
    Anyway I’ll be subscribing on your augment and even I success you get admіsѕion to consistеntly fast.

    Feel free to suгf t᧐ my webpage san diego Hills

  14. chaterba.Com says:

    Dù có nâng ly bằng nước lọc thì vẫn phải cùng vui với
    chòm xóm hijjjj , công tác chuẩn bị buổi
    sáng mới tới đây thôi – đang>cả> thấy hân hoan tại 607 Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm

    my web-site :: chaterba.Com

  15. The platform aids freelancers build profiles and market them to a growing client database.

Leave a Reply