I love things and ideas that simplify my life. Not necessarily the “as seen on TV” kind but I will confess: I have been drawn in by an infomercial or two. I may or may not use the “perfect brownie maker”, a “shoes under” and the “garden weasel” but the commercials convinced me that these items would improve my life and in a way, they did. The makers of these products helped me see that even the most mundane task can be accomplished with the right tools.
This idea is particularly helpful when thinking about life planning. How would you want to be treated if you were unable to speak for yourself? Would anyone know your wishes? No one ever really wants to think about these circumstances, let alone initiate the conversation, but a great tool to help navigate these important questions is the “Five Wishes”.
Five Wishes is a document that helps you express how you want to be treated if you are unable to speak for yourself. It’s written in everyday language so that adults of all ages can understand it and it addresses five important questions to establish personal preferences:
The person I want to make care decisions for me when I can’t;
The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want;
How comfortable I want to be;
How I want people to treat me;
What I want my loved ones to know.
Five Wishes helps to start important discussions. It is unique in that it speaks to all of a person’s needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. Indiana is one of only eight states in which the Five Wishes does not yet meet the legal requirements of a living will. However, the required Indiana Statutory forms are available on the Internet and can be attached to the Five Wishes for the legal completion of advanced directives. The Five Wishes, instructions, and many great resources can be found at www.agingwithdignity.org.
One of my favorite quotes from motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer is: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Asking the tough questions and discussing your preferences regarding life planning is not easy. Using the right tools can alleviate a lot of the tension and keep the conversation on task. You will not only insure that your wishes are met but, it may also lead to one of the best conversations you and your loved ones ever have.