As a private, non-profit organization, Aging with Dignity’s driving principle is to safeguard and affirm the human dignity of every person who faces the challenges of aging, serious illness, disability or loneliness. We have served more than 30 million families and 40,000 organizations by providing the tools needed to discuss advance care planning. We also advocate at the state and federal levels for public policies that enhance the rights of individuals and families in making these decisions. We provide support through resources, workshops and one-on-one assistance that promotes the conversation of dignified care and end-of-life wishes.
Today, we are the most trusted resource for people who want to plan for care in advance of a health crisis. Our Five Wishes document is the most widely used advance directive or living will in America. It is often called the “living will with a heart and soul” because it includes the things that matter the most. Unlike most other advance directives, it is easy to use and understand. Caring for people with a serious illness involves more than providing the best medical care. It means helping them to maintain their human dignity. That’s where we come in.
Guided by our core beliefs, Aging with Dignity encourages public policies that protect the rights of individuals and families. We have provided testimony to the United States Congress and to several state legislatures that has resulted in policies that strengthen patient rights. Since Five Wishes was introduced, a total of 42 states now allow residents to put their end-of-life wishes in their own words, rather than require state-written documents. Aging with Dignity has recently cautioned against reforms that, although well intended, could have the negative consequence of making it more difficult for individuals to express their own preferences without undue influence. In each instance, we look at policies through the lens of these two question: Does it enhance the rights of individuals and families to make their own decisions regarding care? Does it safeguard the individual’s inherent human dignity? Sometimes this requires us to comment on proposed public policy. Sometimes this requires us to intervene in situations where individual’s wishes are not being honored or respected.
Aging with Dignity staff, board and volunteers have provided many hundreds (if not thousands) of educational workshops to help people care for those who they love, and to receive the dignified care they desire in case of a serious illness. As a practical and tangible expression of our mission, we coordinate a direct service project, Hope Today, in the rural Big Bend region of North Florida. We see great joy and hope in difficult circumstances simply by being present, and sometimes providing modest assistance, to those who are most vulnerable and often alone.
Resources, such as Five Wishes and other supporting materials, are provided at a low cost to cover the expense of production and outreach. Aging with Dignity has always provided resources to every individual, regardless of their ability to pay even a small amount.
For more information, go to: www.seniorhousingsolutions.net