"Five Wishes:" An Easy Advance Directive Promotes Dialogue on End-of-Life Care

Aging With Dignity

Five Wishes is a major initiative of Aging With Dignity, a nonprofit organization that seeks to safeguard the rights of the sick, aging or dying. Use the Five Wishes Web site to access a document that helps you to create a living will—also called an advance directive—that addresses your medical, personal, emotional and spiritual needs and is valid in 40 states.

Five Wishes helps you express to your family and doctors your plans for care at the end of life by communicating, in plain language, about the following issues:

  • Which person you want to make health care 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.

Five Wishes was introduced and originally distributed with support of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 1997.

Copies of Five Wishes have been circulated to more than 10 million families. There is a nominal fee for the document, which has been translated to 20 languages.