There’s that time concept again. Downright annoying.
Aging with Dignity breaks with conventional wisdom and offers us Five Wishes®. This 10 page pamphlet was designed to offer a voice to anyone 18 or older. We just don’t know about that time thing. But I do know that I do not want to be fed sardines, smelt or any fish with bones. I have learned that I can endure unrelenting pain for just so long without fighting back. I know that I fiercely love life and have enough interests to fill another several decades.
I never was going to oil paint or climb any object higher than a two-step ladder. But there are books to read or books-on-tape if I can’t see or hold it. There are memories of people and places to waft through my mind as I sit in the sun. And now the sun is setting below clouds reflecting unreal colors as I know it will for days and days on end. Suffice it to say that life is precious and I want more.
So it’s important that I choose who will make my health care decisions for me when I can’t make them for myself.
Wish 2 is for the kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want. Here is an opportunity to evaluate what I am willing to endure to see another sunset. CPR breaks ribs; is it worth it? Rehab from strokes is exhausting with no promises.
Wish 3 is for how comfortable I want to be. If I dislike certain music my spouse loves, here is where I speak up. I’m saying now that Verde’s Requiem at rafter-shaking volume is not soothing to my soul.
Wish 4 is for how I want people to treat me. Do I want others by my side praying for me when possible? Do I want to remain home if possible? With our current health care we need someone actively involved. Are they willing?
Wish 5 is for what I want my loved ones to know. “I wish to be forgiven for the times I have hurt my family, friends, and others.” If there is someone I don’t want to see, I’d best either spell it out or make amends while I have time.
A friend who is bedbound enjoyed a week talking and remembering with her 18 year old son, each filling out the Five Wishes so he would know what she wanted. One year later her son was killed in a motorcycle accident. She knew what he wanted.
Printable copies are available at www.agingwithdignity.org
Whatever your age I wish you would.