We never know when our time on earth will come to an end due to illness or accident, and being prepared for such an event is obviously a good idea. For those who want to be prepared in an effort to take the burden off family members in stressful emotional times, or for those who are either aging or seriously ill, the Five Wishes advance directive is an excellent option.
The Five Wishes document is a living will that allows you to communicate with your family and friends about the type of care that you desire. The document describes what kind of decisions your loved ones may face regarding your health care. Taking the guesswork and possible disagreements off the table in such emotional times will help your family deal with your illness or ultimate passing.
Most of us would like to make certain designations as to our personal care wishes if we are incapacitated or not able to communicate those wishes. The Five Wishes document or living will in combination with a durable medical power of attorney allows you to establish various preferences including but not limited to:
- Designation of the person who you would like to make health care decisions for you when you are not able
- The kind of medical treatment that you want or don’t want
- How comfortable you want to be (i.e., medications, personal care)
- Life support preferences
An often overlooked topic in a living will is the purely personal side: telling your loved ones how you feel about them. With the Five Wishes document or any living will you have the option of letting family and friends know how much you care. You can explain your perspective with regard to matters of contention, and even offer apologies where they may be appropriate.
Whether you choose the Five Wishes document or a traditional living will in combination with a durable medical power of attorney, your loved ones will be glad that you did.
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