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John Clark Gable and Debra Crosier Hartsell -"Trying Times"

Be Kind,  Be Safe and Practicing Social Distancing.  If testing is available to you --- get tested!

We are living in unprecedented times. The entire world is focusing on coronavirus pandemic.  Legions have contracted the illness and many have died from it.  The virus surprised every sector of society and caught many people unaware and prepared.  Health officials are working furiously to address and contain it.

But just as unprepared are families who do not know what their loved ones would want if faced with a serious or life-threatening illness.

Aging with Dignity has spent nearly 25 years helping families have these kinds of discussions, and thanks to Five Wishes, America's most popular and easy-to-understand and use advance care planning program, many know exactly what their loved one’s wishes are.

With life coming to a near standstill in America, it’s time to have these important conversations with the people who mean the most to you. To ask them about the kind of medical care they want or don't want in times of serious illness.  If you haven't had those conversations yet, now is the time.

Our prayers are with the families currently dealing with COVID-19 and other serious illnesses, particularly those who have lost a loved one.  All of us in some way have been impacted by the uncertainties related to this dangerous virus.  For some, it means canceled travel plans or events.  For others, it means lost work.  For those in healthcare, it means bracing for unknown clinical challenges.  For families with loved ones in senior care facilities, it means limited visits.

No matter how you are affected, you have a chance now to be prepared in case you or your loved ones face serious illness.  So get a Five Wishes and seek out the people who matter most to you, and start with the following messages:

•    There's been something on my mind and now is a good time to bring it up
•    You matter to me and I care about you
•    You can count on me to be there for you
•    I want to do the right things for you when you need them the most
•    I don't know your wishes so please tell me them so I can honor them whether I agree with them or not.

Use any one of those statements as an opening to a conversation if the subject turns to the coronavirus or related issues.

If that approach doesn't work, go to the Five Wishes conversation tips to get the ball rolling.

Because of the national emergency before us, Aging with Dignity has decided to take the unprecedented step of making the Five Wishes document available online to individuals at no cost.  Use it for yourself.  Use it for your parents, spouse, siblings, adult children, extended family, and friends.  Just use it!

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