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As we age it is important to be very specific about our wishes for our future care. If one gets seriously ill and cannot make decisions for oneself, it is very important to have a structure in place to ensure that our wishes for care are met. To help this process there is a booklet that is available for a nominal cost from an organization called Aging with Dignity located in Tallahassee, Florida. This booklet called “Five Wishes” addresses all the issues surrounding care. These include questions such as who we choose as the Health Care Agent, how we wish to be treated in case of coma or permanent brain damage etc. There are also explanations and suggestions regarding each of the choices that will be required to make e.g. it is not recommended that a spouse or family member be chosen as Health Care Agent since they are too emotionally involved and may not follow the instructions. Other very important issues are addressed such as the fact that not all States in the United States actually accept the use of this type of document. There is a list of the 40 States and the District Of Columbia that accept the wish list. For the other States, it is suggested that one should discuss the issues and make clear what one would like have done and not have done. Keep in mind that one can always change ones mind regarding these decisions. This is simply done by destroying the original and making out a new version. The booklet has each of the 5 wishes listed and within each wish there are multiple statements that you can either agree with or not. You cross out the statements you don’t agree with. There are other questions that one can contemplate, for example, what I want my loved ones to know, how I want to be remembered, what I would like at the memorial service should there be one.
This highly recommended document is available free from Thrive at Home at 703-383-9300.
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