Five Wishes: Aging with Dignity

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Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed from death to life. ~ John 5:2

It is only natural to think about aging, the expected end-of-life experience and/or the unexpected accident or illness.  Anyone who has ever loved and lost knows how very difficult it is to honor the life of our loved ones, especially when we are overcome by grief.

In the normal routine of life, we tend to bypass conversations that deal with death. <<Click to Tweet

Talking about our wishes, should the unthinkable happen, can seem uncomfortable…morbid even.

For many years, my precious friend – a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and fellow Jesus junkie fought a hard fight against the “c –word” with such grace, courage, and strength. Though she never doubted God’s great plan and purpose for her life, the decline in her health happened quickly leaving little time to share in those ever-important and intimate conversations we sometimes take for granted.  

I will never be sure if she really knew I was there, but am so thankful I had an opportunity to sit by her bedside, hold her hand, and promise to be there for her family and honor her legacy.  This summer will mark the first anniversary of the beginning of her eternal walk with the Lord.  

In life and death, I learned so much from my friend. For one thing, her unexpected experience prompted many of those tough discussions I needed to have with my husband and children.  As a 38-year-old mother of three, I have not made the effort to obtain a living will though it has been on my “to do” list.

As part of a course assignment at Liberty University, I recently learned of Five Wishes and Aging with Dignity a national non-profit organization inspired by Mother Teresa with a mission to affirm and safeguard the human dignity of individuals as they age and to promote better care for those near the end of life.  After learning more about this foundation and the importance of planning the kind of care I would want, I was encouraged and eager to put my wishes and that of my husband’s in a formal legal document, which Five Wishes provides.  

The Five Wishes format is a popular living will that allows you to start important conversations and structure your wishes in everyday language.

Five Wishes lets your family and doctors know:

  • Who you want to make healthcare decisions for you when you can’t make them.

  • The kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want.

  • How comfortable you want to be.

  • How you want people to treat you.

  • What you want your loved ones to know.

Regardless of which avenue you pursue to explore and articulate your end-of-life wishes, having a document prepared in advance can provide great comfort for your family and loved ones. This is not something to be left to chance!

Taking it a step further - capturing important details like social media passwords, credit card details, and other important pieces of information even your loved ones may not know is equally important.  These are things we don’t  always think of, but I cannot stress enough how difficult it can be to close down accounts on behalf of your loved one.  

We know that the wages of sin is death, but God has given us the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).  I hope to live my life to the fullest, leaving a godly legacy for my children and grandchildren.  Ultimately, my goal would be to make this difficult time as smooth as possible for my loved ones when the day comes and the Lord calls me home.  

I hope this is your wish too!

Angele is an American Expat living in Europe with her husband and their three lively boys. In a house full of males, she enjoys retail therapy and everything girlie! Angele is an imperfect woman living in an imperfect world. She loves the Lord, but fails Him daily. She welcomes the good news that His love never fails. She never saw herself as a writer, but believes everyone has a story to share and is grateful that God has given her the courage to bless through her mess(ages). After giving into His unmatched voice, Angele created Angel Dancing as a place to spread her spiritual wings and sprinkle seeds of faith around the world. He is the Creator, she is only His messenger. Angele hopes your steps of faith will be the dance of your life!

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