How to Help Seniors Complete the Five Wishes Advanced Healthcare Directive
Five Wishes is an advanced directive that records an end of life care plan in plain language.
It is important to have a plan for future care in case a senior is unable
to make decisions for themselves at that time. Many individuals create
living wills to direct such decisions, but may not understand all of the
legal jargon. Five Wishes is a very simple legal document written in plain
language to ensure individuals receive the end of life care they desire.
Sharing the Basics with Seniors
What is an Advanced Directive?
If a senior faces a health issue that renders them unable to make healthcare
decisions for themselves, an advanced directive determines who makes
decisions for them. It can also direct the kind of care they receive.
Why Use Five Wishes as my Directive?
A living will and a durable power of attorney for healthcare are two forms
of advance directives. Five Wishes is an advanced directive that covers the
same medical topics. Five Wishes also addresses the individual’s desires for
spiritual, emotional, and personal care.
What are the Five Wishes?
1. The person you want making care decisions for you when you can’t
2. The kinds of medical treatment you do or don’t want
3. How comfortable you want to be
4. How you want to be treated
5. What you want loved ones to know
How Can I Complete a Five Wishes Form?
Anyone over the age of 18 can complete a Five Wishes document. To order a hard copy of Five Wishes or complete the form online, visit agingwithdignity.org
Reasons to Complete Five Wishes
Five Wishes is a gift for seniors and their families. Through this legal document, seniors ensure they experience the kind of care they desire even if they cannot make decisions for themselves.
Senior’s family members:
• Know what their loved one desires
• Know who is responsible for what in the care process
• Are protected from disputes about care
• Don’t have to guess what a loved one would want
• Can address non-medical needs with confidence
If a senior already has a living will or durable power of attorney for healthcare, they can write “revoked” across the documents. They need to notify their lawyer and tell their legal representatives, family, and doctors that they have a Five Wishes directive.
Home Care Tip:
Although Five Wishes is designed to be simple, seniors should take their time completing the form. End of life care decisions are significant and should be weighed carefully. Be sensitive if you help a senior complete this essential document.