YOUR HEALTH MATTERS: Five Wishes for end-of-life care


Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 31, 2008 at 6:32 p.m.

Have you had The Talk?

I don't mean the talk about the birds and bees, but another tough subject.

Have you ever sat down with family or friends to explain how you want to be treated if you become so seriously ill that you can't speak for yourself? Have you already had that talk with your aging parents?

There's a document called Five Wishes that makes it easier to have The Talk about advance directives. Furthermore, it is legal in 40 states including Florida.

The Five Wishes advance directive form was prepared by the non-profit organization Aging with Dignity, and it's available in 20 languages.

It offers the chance to tell your family, friends and physicians exactly what you would prefer in terms of end-of-life care.

How would you answer these questions?

1. Which person do you want to make health-care decisions for you when you can't make them?

2. What kind of medical treatment do you want? What don't you want?

3. How comfortable do you want to be?

4. How do you want people to treat you?

5. What do you want your loved ones to know?

The Five Wishes form is available online at www.agingwithdignity.org.

It will also be offered free by Haven Hospice at two locations later this month. Here's where to find them:

April 15 at the 400 Building behind the Seagle Building on W. University Ave., from 2 to 4 p.m.

April 18 at the Bank of America, 35 N. Main St. in High Springs, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"An advance directive is one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones," says Tim Bowen, executive director of Haven Hospice. "When you think you don't need an advance directive is when you need it most."

Sight for sore eyes

Here's another free offering, this one from EyeCare America.

The national non-profit organization works to raise awareness about eye disease and it offers a variety of free eye health brochures.

Among the topics they cover are cataracts, glaucoma, dry eye and macular degeneration, corneal transplants and LASIK surgery. Several are offered in Spanish.

To order brochures, visit www.eyecareamerica.org and click on "Get Some Brochures." It's that easy.

Diane Chun can be reached at 352-374-5041 or chund@gvillesun.com

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