National Interest in Living Wills Surges as America Responds to COVID-19

  • Mar 25, 2020 -
  • Aging with Dignity
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WASHINGTON and TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The coronavirus has brought a new urgency to those mulling advance care planning.  The nonprofit Aging with Dignity, which provides the most widely used advance directive in the country, reports a tenfold increase in requests for Five Wishes from individuals since the outbreak took hold.

Its Five Wishes document allows people to outline what medical treatment they would want if they are no longer able to convey their wishes in a health crisis. Five Wishes has provided more than 37 million documents and resources over the past 20 years.  Available in 29 languages, the tools are used by individuals and families, as well as healthcare providers, employers, places of worship, business, and other communities.

“We’re hearing from families that they want to be prepared,” said Aging with Dignity President Paul Malley. “Many are using this time, as families are gathered together and staying home, to talk about what matters most to them. Rather than being resigned to feeling helpless about the coronavirus and the danger a loved one may face, they are taking action to be prepared. And they’re telling us it’s a very positive experience. They’re having great talks with the people who are closest to them about the things that matter most.”

Five Wishes communicates what a person would want in case of a health crisis. It gives a person a voice in how they are cared for and what medical treatment they receive if they become seriously ill and are no longer able to speak for themselves. It is used to name a healthcare agent, or the person trusted to make healthcare decisions, and to give detailed instructions on life support treatment.   Those who use Five Wishes say it is easy to use and understand, and they appreciate its emphasis on topics like comfort, dignity, family relationships, and spirituality.

Five Wishes is the national advance care planning program of the non-profit organization Aging with Dignity. Aging with Dignity’s founder and CEO Jim Towey’s thoughts on the coronavirus were featured in The Washington Post this past weekend and can be accessed here.

More information: www.fivewishes.org

Contact:  Paul Malley
p.malley@agingwithdignity.org
850-681-2010, Ext. 103

SOURCE Five Wishes