ELKINS, W.Va. (WBOY) — Davis Health System Foundation hosted a Five Wishes community event at the Myles Center for the Arts on the campus of David and Elkins College on Thursday.
Officials invited the community to a free community dinner where a special presentation was given on the Five Wishes advance care planning program. Those in attendance received a free estate planning guide and the Five Wishes workbook. Five Wishes is a living will that talks about personal, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as medical wishes and directives.
“Sometimes people think that this isn’t something you need to talk about unless you’re of a certain age or if you’ve got a difficult health diagnosis. Our message is, this is a conversation for everybody, every adult, everyone 18 and over, grandparents, parents, and adult grandchildren,” said Paul Malley, President of Aging With Dignity.
Malley stated that a great way for families to open the conversation up is for a person to start talking about their own wishes first. Aging With Dignity encourages people to give thought into it and then sit down with their loved ones to hold those conversations.
“It is really important for families to talk about this ahead of time and to remember that conversation. It is even more important to have something written down and that is where Five Wishes comes in. It is a legally valid advanced directive, so it meets the legal requirements in West Virginia and almost all states,” Malley said. “It gives families and doctors a way to look back and kind of see the breadcrumb trail, what was important to this person and if we have to make decisions for them how do we know what’s right? And when it’s written down that is even better because it goes back to the conversation and families and doctors know what to do without having to guess.”
Davis Health System representatives added that Five Wishes living will let you choose the person you want to make health care decisions for you if you are not able to make them for yourself.