Aging with Dignity was founded in 1996 by Jim Towey when he was legal counsel to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom he first met in Calcutta in 1985. During her lifetime she wrote in support of Aging with Dignity and urged Towey to “defend and protect life, the most beautiful gift of God and to bring God’s love and compassion to the elderly poor.” She added, “There are among us so many who are poor and elderly, in need of our understanding, respect, love and compassion, especially if they are sick, handicapped, helpless or alone.”
Towey took her advice to heart, and since the very beginning, Aging with Dignity has remained faithful to its important mission. The organization’s core principle is that every person has a right to age with dignity. This right is embedded in the heart and soul of every person regardless of their health, wealth, race or creed. It is not conferred by government but instead by God. Those who face grave medical circumstances deserve a better choice than pain or poison. They should not be defined by their diagnosis or incapacitation. Their lives are a gift from God, not a burden to society. Aging with Dignity believes they should be treated that way.