By LOIS KINDLE
Many of us are uncomfortable thinking about the possibility of becoming incapacitated, let alone actually talking about it. We tend to put that conversation off indefinitely, until something happens and it’s too late.
Sun City Center resident Jeannie Hogan wants to start that conversation for you by providing free information on the Five Wishes Advance Directive from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. March 21 at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church. This easy to understand, legal document helps doctors, medical personnel, family members and caregivers know what you want in the event you’re unable to make your own healthcare decisions.
“No one likes to consider a situation where they would need to depend on someone else to decide these things for us,” Hogan said. “But now is the time to express your wishes. We never know what’s going to happen.”
The one-hour Five Wishes seminar is free, and everyone who attends will receive a complimentary copy of the Five Wishes booklet to fill out when they’re ready.
Parts one and two are legally binding, once the document is signed and witnessed in Florida. It meets the legal requirements in 42 states and the District of Columbia and is honored through reciprocity throughout the country.
The Five Wishes addresses medical, personal, emotional and spiritual needs. They are as follows:
● Wish 1: The person I want to make care decisions for me when I can’t
Here’s where you let those close to you, your caregivers, doctors and medical personnel know who you’ve chosen as your healthcare surrogate.
“It’s absolutely essential to pick the right person to make those decisions for you,” Hogan said. “Your closest relative or friend isn’t always the best choice.”
● Wish 2: The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want
This section of the document is a living will. It tells anyone making decisions for you what you want regarding life support.
● Wish 3: How comfortable I want to be
This part states what you want done regarding pain and other types of care that would comfort you.
● Wish 4: How I want people to treat me
This is where you specify personal desires like having people with you or not when death is imminent, prayers said on your behalf and if you wish to die at home, if possible.
● Wish 5: What I want my loved ones to know
Here, you tell your loved ones how you’d like to be remembered, who would like to care for your pets, if you want to be buried or cremated and so on.
Five Wishes isn’t a will and shouldn’t be considered a replacement for one. Its purpose is for after you’re gone, Hogan said.
“Five Wishes is for while you’re still alive,” she continued. “A copy should be given to your doctor, hospital and healthcare advocate, not filed away in a closet or lockbox. It needs to be readily available to those who might need it.”
The Five Wishes advance directive helps reduce the tremendous stress families go through when they have to make decisions and don’t know what their loved one wants.
“Preparing it now gives everyone a chance to talk about it with you, ask questions and express their concerns,” Hogan said.
Five Wishes was introduced in Florida in the late 1990s by Aging with Dignity, a Tallahassee-based nonprofit organization. Its booklet is available in 28 languages, including Braille. For more information, visit www.agingwithdignity.org.
A RSVP is required by March 19 for the upcoming Five Wishes Advance Directive presentation. Seating is limited. Call the St. Andrew Presbyterian Church office at 813-634-1252.
The church is at 1239 W. Del Webb Blvd., Sun City Center.