Helping to make dignified care a reality for all.
We are a private, non-profit organization with a mission to safeguard the human dignity of people as they age or face serious illness. For nearly 20 years, Aging with Dignity has been an advocate for quality care for those near the end of life. We have touched the lives of more than 25 million people and their families. And we have been honored to work with more than 40,000 organizations across America that distribute our Five Wishes document to help people plan in advance of a serious illness. With resources available in 28 different languages, we serve people of diverse cultures and faith traditions.
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.
Advocacy: 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.
Action: 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.
Support: Aging with Dignity provides free information and guidance to individuals, families and organizations. This includes responding to questions and inquiries to our national toll-free hotline, offering educational workshops or training sessions, and consulting with organizations and they design and maintain programs to promote advance care planning. Resources, such as Five Wishes and other supporting material, 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. No individual is ever denied any resource because of an inability to pay. Your support enables Aging with Dignity to continue all these efforts.