Lawrence, Mass. – Despite the inevitability of death, many people struggle when thinking or talking about end-of-life wishes. As the COVID-19 pandemic revealed, however, no one is guaranteed ample time to share their preferences with loved ones and make practical preparations.
To facilitate these important conversations, Tufts Medicine Care at Home is offering the free workshop “Five Wishes: Being the Best Health Advocate for Yourself and Your Family” on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., at St. Michael’s Parish, 196 Main St. in North Andover.
Five Wishes is an advance care planning program used by more than 40 million people nationwide to describe how they want to be comforted, supported, treated, and remembered, with unlimited revisions possible. The easy-to-use format, which is available in 30 languages, provides a solid foundation for effective, meaningful communication between patients, families, caregivers, and healthcare providers.
“Five Wishes is a comprehensive document that encourages people to think about what kind of care they want under different circumstances,” said workshop leader Susan Toleos, manager of hospice bereavement services and community education/outreach at Tufts Medicine Care at Home.
Additional topics include how to select a healthcare agent, funeral planning, getting the document witnessed, and who should receive copies. Five Wishes can be used by all ages, and Toleos said she encourages everyone to fill one out.
“No one wants to think about an illness, or an accident, or possibly developing dementia, but we are all vulnerable to a catastrophic event that will prevent us from being able to make our own healthcare decisions,” Toleos said. “So many of us fear anxiety from unpleasant conversations, while in reality, the act of preparing for death can actually minimize anguish for ourselves and loved ones.”
The Five Wishes workshop is free and open to the public, with registration required by calling 978-552-4510. For more information, visit www.merrimackvalleyhospice.org.
About Tufts Medicine Care at Home
Tufts Medicine Care at Home, part of the Tufts Medicine health system, provides a full continuum of home health, palliative, and hospice care within all the places patients call home in more than 110 communities throughout northeastern Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and southern Maine.