16. July 2012 15:13
End-of-life care always presents challenges, but the challenges are multiplied when the legal documents for someone's desired wishes are not in place. The Five Wishes is a simple legal document that is also affordable and assists seniors and caregivers to plan for end-of-life care.
As a senior caregiver, it important to know the senior's wishes when a medical emergeny arises. Are they a DNR, or Do-Not-Resucitate? Do they want to have life support if the issue will only be short-term or not at all? Who is the healthcare power-of-attorney (PofA) and the financial power-of-attorney to manage these issues for the senior if they cannot make the decisions themselves. It is also important to have these legal documents in place prior to memory loss beginning.
The need to make critical medical decisions often occurs suddenly and must frequently be decided by someone other than the one needing care. It is important to have a set of medical care instructions in place to prepare for the possibility that an individual may not be able to be their own advocate when major decisions must be made. Five Wishes acts as a valid living will, which is a document that expresses the wishes of its owner in regard to life support and other considerations of urgent medical care.
Read about issues seniors and caregivers confront and learn how the Five Wishes can be of assistance in Caregiverlist's interview with an estate attorney and senior home care agency owner in this article. The Five Wishes document is inexpensive and developed by someone who worked with hospice patients. In it, we spoke to the owner of a homecare agency to better understand what kind of documentation is helpful when care is suddenly needed. We additionally spoke to a tax attorney to differentiate between what constitutes a will, a living will, or a Power of Attorney and the advantages of having each. Since its creation in 1997, Five Wishes is now available in 26 languages and is a legal advance directive in 42 states. It is available for purchase online or may be ordered by mail. Five Wishes must be signed by two witnesses to verify that the owner is of sound mind at the time of signing the document. While Five Wishes is particularly useful for those needing or seeking senior care, the homecare agency owner and the tax lawyer recommended that any adult have a living will in place. You may purchase the Five Wishes document online or order for $5.00 per document, with discounts available when you purchase 25 or more at the website Agingwithdignity.com You may also want to research senior care options to learn about the nursing homes and senior care agencies in your area as you plan ahead for potential senior care needs.