Aging

Celebrate Older Americans Month: Discuss Last Wishes

last wishes

last wishesWishes Mean Celebration

Wishes? When I think of making a wish I think of blowing out being surrounded by friends as I prepare to blow out the candles on a birthday cake. In the milliseconds it takes to blow out the candles I makes my wishes for health, love, friendships, in a nutshell my hopes for the future. What if we reframed end of life wishes as the hopes for the future? Today you have the opportunity to your future why not include your last wishes too?

Death Cafe

A Death Cafe is an event where people drink tea, eat cake and discuss death. The aim is to increase awareness of death and to help people make the most of their lives. Ben Franklin said,”…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The Death Cafe encourages thoughtful conversation about death on your own terms.

Advanced Healthcare Directive

An advance healthcare directive, also known as living will, personal directive, advance directive, or advance decision, is a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity. These legal documents are state specific so it’s important that you take care when filing the documents. My favorite easy to read directive is supplied by the Institute of Healthcare Advancement. This organization has an easy to understand legal document that makes the process easy. Click here to review the California Advance Healthcare Directive and Pennsylvania Advance Healthcare Directive.

During Older Americans Month I encourage you to make plans for your future and more importantly your last wishes.

Judi Bonilla is the Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging. Previously she was a fellow for Hispanic In Philanthropy and Senior Service America, Inc. Bonilla has spoken at South by Southwest (SXSW) the American Society on Aging, and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She has received a Special Commendation from the City of San Diego for the inaugural Older Driver Awareness Week in San Diego, the Association of Travel Instruction Jack Gorelick Achievement Award for her passionate commitment and perseverance to the growth of the profession of travel instruction and the Women In Transportation Innovative Transportation Solutions Award.