How Can I Start End-Of-Life Discussions?

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End-of-life discussions are not easy to have.

Every year you are getting older.

Perhaps you are at the age where many close friends and loved ones have already passed away.

Some families were prepared for this loss.

Others were not.

According to recent articles on The Conversation Project titled “Starter Kits” and AARP.org titled “Caregiver Life Balance,” it is important to have end-of-life conversations with your loved ones now.

End-of-life discussions can be hard to have.
Discuss your end-of-life wishes before it is too late.

How do you do this?

Prepare for the Conversation

Difficult conversations are often avoided.

They feel unpleasant and uncomfortable.

It can be less daunting, if you know what you want to communicate.

Create an outline of what you want to say as well as the goals for the conversation.

There are a number of topics to discuss with your loved ones.

You will want to talk about finances, health issues, health care decisions and wishes, and the care of any pets.

The “Conversation Starter Kit” from the Conversation Project is a good place to start.

Educate Loved Ones

When having your end-of-life conversation, it may be helpful to utilize resources.

Sometimes others are able to express our reasoning or educate others better than we can ourselves.

Podcasts are quite popular and can prove to be a great resource.

A few to consider sharing with family and friends would be NPR Life Kit: How to be a Better Caregiver When a Loved One Gets Sick, On Being: What Matters in the End–Featuring Atul Gawande, NPR Life Kit: Take Control of Your Care When You’re Seriously Sick, Healthcare Communication—Effective Techniques for Clinicians: How to Prepare for End of Life Conversations, and Death, Sex & Money: Alzheimer’s and the World’s Saddest Comedy Club.

Finding the Words

Breaking the ice on any end-of-life conversation is not so easy in practice.

Oftentimes, it actually involves more than just a single conversation.

How can you introduce the conversation?

You may bring up a recent death of a mutual friend.

You an simply say you have been thinking about the future.

You can share concerns.

Better yet, if you have an estate plan in place, reviewing your wishes and goals can prove an excellent introduction to end-of-life discussions.

Resources: The Conversation Project. “Starter Kits.” (Accessed November 28, 2019)  https://theconversationproject.org/ ARRP. Org. “Caregiver Life Balance.” (Accessed November 28, 2019) https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/life-balance/info-2017/talk-end-of-life-care.html

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