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National Healthcare Decisions Day is observed annually on April 16th and is aimed at increasing the number of Americans who have completed an advance directive (“living will”), in which they name the person who will make medical decisions for them in the event they are seriously ill and can’t speak for themselves. Experts say only about 20-30% of Americans have completed an advance directive even though all people age 18 and older should have one.

“It’s understandable that people would put off discussing the topic of serious illness and death, but it’s essential to have this family conversation in advance,” says Angela Thomas, MSN, RN, CMC, Caring With Grace. “It’s a discussion that should take place in the living room, not in the hospital waiting room when it may be too late.”

Caring With Grace is featuring Aging with Dignity’s Five Wishes, America’s most popular advance care planning program with more than 30 million copies of its advance directive in national circulation. The 12-page document is easy to use and deals with personal, family and spiritual matters in addition to medical and legal concerns. Five Wishes is also a valuable tool for beginning often difficult family discussions. It meets the legal requirements of 42 states and is useful in those states that still require state forms and mandatory notices. Five Wishes is available in 29 languages in order to address the diverse cultural needs of the community.

Five Wishes deals with the things people say matter most to them,” Aging with Dignity President Paul Malley said. “It allows them to clearly state what kind of treatment they want or don’t want so their families aren’t left to guess or second-guess.”

What is Five Wishes?

Five Wishes is an advance care planning program with an easy-to-use legal document written in everyday language that lets adults of all ages plan how they want to be cared for in case they become seriously ill. Five Wishes helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself. It is unique among all other living will and health agent forms because it speaks to all a person's needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. See how Five Wishes can help you and your loved ones by clicking here.

What is The Conversation Project?

The Conversation Project is a public engagement initiative with a goal that is both simple and transformative: to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected.

Too many people die in a manner they would not choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.

It’s time to transform our culture so we shift from not talking about dying to talking about it. It’s time to share the way we want to live at the end of our lives. And it’s time to communicate about the kind of care we want and don’t want for ourselves.

Together we can make these difficult conversations easier. We can make sure that our own wishes, and those of our loved ones, are both expressed and respected. The Conversation Project offers tools, guidance, and resources to begin talking with loved ones about your and their wishes.

While 92% of Americans say it’s important to discuss their wishes for end-of-life care, only 32% have had such a conversation. 95% of Americans say they would be willing to talk about their wishes, and 53% even say they’d be relieved to discuss it (The Conversation Project National Survey, 2018).

For your FREE download of 'Your Conversation Starter Kit', please click here.

What is Caring With Grace? At Caring with Grace, we provide compassionate and comprehensive individualized care for our clients and their families. Our goal as care managers is to inform and guide those we serve in order to ease the burdens and challenges of aging or disability.

To learn more about individualized care for your loved one, please contact us at Caring With Grace to speak with one of our compassionate experts in family caregiving.

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