Unfortunately falling terminally ill is a possibility for anyone. It is important for all of us to plan ahead to ensure our wishes for the end of our life are attended to. These wishes can be very difficult questions to answer, such as who will make medical decisions for me? What treatments do and don’t I want? How comfortable do I want to be? How do I want people to treat me? What do I want my loved ones to know? These very heavy questions are at the core of what is known as the 5 wishes. The 5 wishes where invented by Jim Towey who worked closely with Mother Teresa for one year of his life in a hospice she ran in Washington, DC. Seeing first hand what many families went through and how the where not prepared prompted Towey to come up with an easier approach. Towey created the 5 wishes and a list of corresponding questions and statements that went along with them. Each question or statement in each list can be removed or answered so what remains is your will.
The Role of Family
Discussing the 5 wishes with your family is vitally important to ensure all parties are understood and clear on why things are happening. Leaving a loved without the understanding of why you choose one person over another to be the ultimate medical decision maker can leave a stamp in them forever. It may even seem like the best time to be selfish is when your gone but this is truly not that time. Many times discussing these matters can clear the air with other issues that may be unspoken or not realized. Working out these problems earlier can help to make your finals days more peaceful.
The 5 Wishes
Who will make medical decisions for me? What treatments do and don’t I want? How comfortable do I want to be? How do I want people to treat me? What do I want my loved ones to know? The 5 wishes are all about answering these questions so you have a plan that will carryout your will in your final days.
My Wish For The Person To Make Health Care Decisions For Me, When I Can’t Make Them Myself?
It may seem like a “who do I like best” type of question. This could not be further from the truth. The best person to decide medical treatment for you may not even be a family member or spouse. Remember this will be a person that will need to be able to make a very tough decision and be able to do that according to what you want. This may be too difficult for family member as the emotional tie may be too high. Although, no will know better then you just be sure the person cares very much for you, is willing to fight for you, and willing to leave personal feelings aside to carry out your will. Also be sure the person is close by sometimes decisions may need to be made quickly.
My Wish For The Kind Of Medical Treatment I Want or Don’t Want
This statement may be the hardest to handle because it deals with the difficult questions like life support and other treatments you may or may not want. These choices are laid out in the 5 wishes because there maybe a time when you can no longer speak or relate your wishes yourself. Many times this question leans on our desire to lessen a burden upon our families, but we must always consider our loved ones and they may want to feel like they did all they could. These points in our life way heavily on all parties involved, so it is best to discuss it with everyone.
My Wish For How comfortable I want to be
Can there be a too comfortable? Although it may seem like a rhetorical question, you may want to think allot more about it. In this section of the 5 wishes you will deal with what level of pain reduction you want or in what state you want to be in regardless of the benefits of treatments. The reasoning behind this is as with many medications, like the ones for pain, they can leave you groggy or sedated. Whisking away the pain may seem like a nice option, but you may want to consider a more coherent state of consciousness regardless of the pain. If the unfortunate happens and you are rounding the end of your life a heart felt conversation with a loved one may be the most important time of your life. This is way if you are dazed and confused it may be hard to accomplish it.
My Wish For How I Want People To Treat Me
This question is exactly as it sounds. It is all about how you want others to treat you. The statements in this section range from if you want people to be holding your hand as you pass to whether you would like to spend your final days at home. The one thing you may want to do is discuss what people are comfortable with to be sure they can handle the requests.
My Wish For What I Want My Loved Ones To Know
The best way to think of this section of the 5 wishes is that it is your last words you would like to say to your loved ones if you are unable to say them. You will run through many statements like, I wish for my family and friends to know that I love them. Seemingly that is not a tough statement but there are much deeper ideals. One such instance is wishing for my family members to make peace with each other before my death or stating that you would like your family or friends to get counseling if they are having trouble. These can be complicated issues for anyone and working through them in advance may help the grieving process. The other part of this section deals with what you would like done with your remains and how you would like your funeral to proceed. Whether you would like your ashes spread over the sea or a family plot to be established it is best to list it here.
The 5 wishes are very hard questions that deal with a very troubling time, but it is best to be prepared. There is nothing worse then having a problem during a time that is already emotionally trying.
Be sure your state is on the list below as one of 42 states that have adopted the 5 wishes as a legal document:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Hospice Care Patients
Hospice care is the care for the terminally ill. Thousands of hospice patients have already gone through the 5 wishes or setup a plan just like. It is crucial for all those who are enter the last portion of their lives to create such a plan. It can many times help with process of dying and ease many of the worries. If a loved one or someone you know is in need of Hospice Care please contact Assisted Hospice Care at 800-949-6555 or visit www.Assisted1.com. Our compassionate hospice team treats all patients like they are family.