Aging With Dignity
Five Wishes Online
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What We Believe
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Aging with Dignity is a national non-profit organization with a mission to affirm and safeguard the human dignity of individuals as they age and to promote better care for those near the end of life. The life and work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta served as the inspirational foundation of Aging with Dignity.


Aging with Dignity founder Jim Towey served as Mother Teresa's friend and legal counsel for 12 years and was a full-time volunteer in her home for people with AIDS. Her tender care and concern for all a person’s needs – medical, emotional and spiritual – served as the inspiration for Five Wishes, America’s most popular living will.

Aging with Dignity introduced Five Wishes in Florida in 1997, and a year later, to the nation. Dubbed “the living will with a heart and soul,” Five Wishes today meets the legal requirements in 42 states and has helped literally millions of people plan for and receive the kind of care they want. Five Wishes is unique among all other advance directives and living wills because it is user-friendly and easy to complete. Five Wishes Online was introduced in 2011, allowing people to complete Five Wishes on screen and print out a personalized document immediately. The document is available in 27 languages and in Braille.

Aging with Dignity President Paul Malley succeeded founder Jim Towey and today directs its many activities.

Watch an Introduction to Aging with Dignity and Five Wishes

What We Believe

Aging with Dignity accomplishes its mission through its resources, action and advocacy:


  • Aging with Dignity believes we have responsibility in our society, local communities and families to care for the most vulnerable among us – those who are sick, aged, weak, disabled, poor and isolated.

  • Those suffering with a serious illness should not simply be seen as an object on a health care conveyor belt. We should emphasize the things that people say matter the most – comfort, personal dignity, family relationships and spiritual matters.

  • There should be a focus on providing quality and dignified care for those struggling with a serious illness so that people will not fear dying alone and in pain. Assisted suicide is not the answer to the challenges faced at the end of life.

  • Every adult has the right to make health care decisions in advance of a health crisis. They should be able to convey these decisions in legally valid documents that are easy to understand, allow people to put their wishes in their own words and include matters of the heart and soul.


  • Aging with Dignity believes that the actions and personal outreach of Hope Today are the tangible expressions of our mission.

  • Hope Today first identifies those who are most vulnerable – those who are poor, disabled, sick and isolated with little support and who have little or no interaction with others.

  • Hope Today then builds community networks of support through HT program coordinators and volunteers and cultivates personal relationships with those we serve.

  • Hope Today also connects those we serve with existing local essential services providers and fills in gaps in local services through the use of dedicated volunteers.

  • Hope Today fosters community education opportunities through workshops and forums.


© 2015 Aging with Dignity. All Rights Reserved.