Joann Kiser print


The process of dying is frequently accompanied by a loss-of-control over life events. If it is important to you to have such control as is possible over the events that occur before, at, and following your death, then it is important that you become informed about the tools available to plan for and shape those events.

State laws across the country are beginning to give more and more attention to the right of an individual to exercise control over the end-of-life process. If you are going to influence this process, it is necessary that you take responsibility for becoming educated about your rights and the tools available to exercise those rights.

Here you will find information that will help you to:

  • Understand your rights
  • Discover the kinds of documents by which these rights are exercised
  • Get assistance with the preparation of such documents
  • Understand how to use these documents
  • Understand the importance of selecting one or more advocates to champion your rights via these documents

Advance Directives

Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to convey your wishes about end-of-life care ahead of time.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of such documents in ensuring that your wishes for end-of-life care be fulfilled. Without them, decisions concerning your care will be made by family members or, as is often the case, by medical workers who may order every possible procedure to avoid the risk of being sued.

The documents cover such issues as resuscitation, dialysis and breathing machines, feeding tubes, and organ donation.

Advance Directive documents: FREE downloads for the State of Colorado are available here.

Downloadable versions of the advance directives for every state in the U.S are available here.

 5 Wishes Document

Five Wishes has become America’s most popular living will because it is written in everyday language and helps start and structure important conversations about care in times of serious illness. Five Wishes meets the legal requirements in 42 states (including Colorado) and is useful in all 50 states.

Use the Five Wishes for to let your family and doctors know:

  • Who you want to make health care decisions for you when you can’t make them.
  • The kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want.
  • How comfortable you want to be.
  • How you want people to treat you.
  • What you want your loved ones to know.

Hard copies are available for $5.00 from the Aging With Dignity website.