As a private, non-profit organization, our driving principle is to safeguard and affirm the human dignity of every person who faces the challenges of aging, serious illness, disability or loneliness. We have served more than 30 million families and 40,000 organizations by providing the tools needed to discuss advance care planning. We also advocate at the state and federal levels for public policies that enhance the rights of individuals and families in making these decisions. We provide support through resources, workshops and one-on-one assistance that promotes the conversation of dignified care and end-of-life wishes.
Today, we are the most trusted resource for people who want to plan for care in advance of a health crisis. Our Five Wishes document is the most widely used advance directive or living will in America. It is often called the “living will with a heart and soul” because it includes the things that matter the most. Unlike most other advance directives, it is easy to use and understand. Caring for people with a serious illness involves more than providing the best medical care. It means helping them to maintain their human dignity. That’s where we come in.
Guided by our core beliefs, Aging with Dignity encourages public policies that protect the rights of individuals and families. We have provided testimony to the United States Congress and to several state legislatures that has resulted in policies that strengthen patient rights. Since Five Wishes was introduced, a total of 42 states now allow residents to put their end-of-life wishes in their own words, rather than require state-written documents. Aging with Dignity has recently cautioned against reforms that, although well intended, could have the negative consequence of making it more difficult for individuals to express their own preferences without undue influence. In each instance, we look at policies through the lens of these two question: Does it enhance the rights of individuals and families to make their own decisions regarding care? Does it safeguard the individual’s inherent human dignity? Sometimes this requires us to comment on proposed public policy. Sometimes this requires us to intervene in situations where individual’s wishes are not being honored or respected.
Aging with Dignity staff, board and volunteers have provided many hundreds (if not thousands) of educational workshops to help people care for those who they love, and to receive the dignified care they desire in case of a serious illness. As a practical and tangible expression of our mission, we coordinate a direct service project, Hope Today, in the rural Big Bend region of North Florida. We see great joy and hope in difficult circumstances simply by being present, and sometimes providing modest assistance, to those who are most vulnerable and often alone.
Resources, such as Five Wishes and other supporting materials, are provided at a low cost to cover the expense of production and outreach. Aging with Dignity has always provided resources to every individual, regardless of their ability to pay even a small amount.
Our staff is dedicated to serving families and organizations to ensure dignified care for all. We have assisted more than 30 million families and 40,000 organizations by providing the tools needed to discuss advance care planning.
My mother often told me that I grew up in nursing homes and hospitals. It’s true. My experience with my grandparents is what initially drew me to the mission of Aging with Dignity more than 17 years… Read More
A few years ago, we were at a trade show and one of our fellow vendors came quietly up to our booth. She was a young woman with tears already welling up in her eyes. “I just want you to know that your… Read More
Years ago, my parents passed without my brother and me really knowing what their wishes were for end of life. For us, we’re closer for the experience. But I’ve seen other families torn apart by the process… Read More
I believe we all have great capacity to love, to find peace, and to grow, even in the most challenging parts of life. Working at Aging with Dignity allows me to help protect and empower people to realize… Read More
While working as a clinical music therapist in hospice and mental health care facilities, I saw how often someone’s favorite song or hymn would serve as a catalyst for conversation… Read More
While earning my undergraduate degree, I found myself a part of both a volunteer program and research project that would put me face-to-face with some of society’s most disenfranchised individuals… Read More
Starting out as a part time office assistant, I never thought I would have the opportunity to touch and be touched by the lives of the callers on the other end of the phone. It brings me great joy and… Read More
It wasn’t easy to see the value and importance of planning ahead when I was growing up in a community where barely anyone did so. However, once you’ve seen, heard or experienced the impact the littlest… Read More
Andy is the program coordinator of Hope Today. In this role, he manages and coordinates activities to fulfill the basic needs of the underserved in the Florida Big Bend region. Whether that need is an… Read More
Mr. Smith has devoted his life and career to improving the lives of seniors and children. Drawing on more than 4 decades of experience in long term care and senior housing, he founded a family-focused network of 19 assisted living facilities in Wisconsin, one of the largest providers in the state… Read More
Mr. Towey founded Aging with Dignity based largely on his experience working with Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He served as Mother Teresa’s legal counsel for 12 years, and also volunteered in many of her missions around the world, including her homes for the dying in Calcutta and Washington DC… Read More
Paul Malley is president of Aging with Dignity, a position to which he was named in 2002. He previously served as the organization’s communications director since 1998. With nearly 20 years of experience in the field of aging and advance care planning, Paul is a national expert, frequent speaker, and advocate… Read More
Mr. Boulos is President, Office Environments & Services, a Jacksonville, Florida-based family-owned business of over six decades service to Northeast Florida businesses. A former Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) referee, Mr. Boulos is a major supporter of local youth athletics, arts… Read More
An attorney with over 30 years of experience, Mr. Brochin is managing partner of the Miami, Florida office of Morgan-Lewis, an international law firm that specializes in litigation, corporate, finance, restructuring, employment and benefits, and intellectual property services… Read More
James C. Capretta is a resident fellow and holds the Milton Friedman Chair at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies health care, entitlement, and US budgetary policy, as well as global trends in aging, health, and retirement programs. Mr. Capretta spent more than 16 years in public service… Read More
Ms. Piet is a nurse with Johns Hopkins Healthcare in Baltimore, Maryland. She has long had an interest and passion in providing compassionate care at the end of life. Ms. Piet created and managed the Omega Life Program at Johns Hopkins, a program that coordinated care for patients living with multiple… Read More
Dr. Retzke, Ph.D., is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based health care executive with over 25 years of experience in marketing, customer service, training, and strategic planning. His Retzke & Associates provides guidance to national long term care companies, trade associations, risk management organizations… Read More
Ms. Russell of Chicago, Illinois, is certified in Clinical Pastoral Care. Over the years, Ms. Russell has been a community leader in promoting dignified care at the end of life, particularly through volunteer work with her church and with hospices in Illinois and Florida. She has been at the bedside… Read More