Know Your Options: Five Wishes or Medical Power of Attorney

five wishes

Many seniors find themselves completing estate planning documents including a will, financial power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney and living will. Unfortunately, some are not fully aware of all their options when it comes to the planning process. Five Wishes is a legal advance directive document that is easy to understand and designed to make it easy for adults to think about how they want to be cared for at the end of life and what is important to them.  It is often used as a gentle way to open the topic for discussion with family members who otherwise avoid having what is sometimes viewed as an uncomfortable conversation. Five Wishes becomes a very useful tool when family members are scattered and living out of state as it can help avoid potential disagreements between family members on what the senior’s actual wishes were, especially when the senior is no longer able to communicate.

What Is Five Wishes?

Five Wishes was created by a non-profit looking for a better way to create a living will. It addresses all areas of life, including medical needs, personal needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs. The program also helps with discussion guidelines for speaking with family members and doctors to clearly communicate wishes. The five sections are:

  1. The Person I Want to Make Care Decisions for Me When I Can’t
  2. The Kind of Medical Treatment I Want or Don’t Want
  3. How Comfortable I Want to Be
  4. How I Want People to Treat Me
  5. What I Want My Loved Ones to Know

What Are the Differences Between Five Wishes and Medical Power of Attorney Documents?

A medical power of attorney document is a legal document that gives someone else the ability to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Just like Five Wishes, it is a type of advance directive that covers your preferences. Unlike medical power of attorney documents, Five Wishes goes beyond just medical and healthcare topics to express spiritual, emotional and personal wishes. It aims to be a more holistic way of planning for the end of life.

Is Five Wishes Accepted in All States?

Five Wishes documents are considered legally valid in almost every state, but some states require additional forms and mandatory notices. It currently meets requirements for 44 states. If you live in Indiana, New Hampshire, Kansas, Ohio, Oregon or Texas, you will need to take additional steps beyond the Five Wishes document.

Should You Use Five Wishes?

The choice is yours. Many seniors are choosing Five Wishes because it is so straightforward and easy to understand, while incorporating spiritual and emotional aspects that traditional power of attorney documents do not. It also helps in having difficult conversations about end of life with healthcare personnel and family members, which many seniors appreciate.

Prepare for the Rest of Your Life with Senior Care Lifestyles

Senior Care Lifestyles specializes in connecting seniors with the right in-home care, assisted living, or senior living community to meet their needs. We have helped hundreds of clients and treat each senior as a valued member of our own family deserving our personalized attention, compassion and respect.

For help, or questions please call us at 410-977-3718 or send a message through our website

Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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