How to Start the Conversation about End-of-Life Planning

Sympathy Hand Elderly Care Woman Aged Senior

For Western families, talking about end-of-life planning is always delicate. It is a difficult topic for most, but it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Every one meets their end eventually, but preparations for it can be an open, productive conversation. It might be hard to bring it up to your parents, you don’t always know how they will respond, but it is necessary for everyone involved. Communication is key, and there are ways to make the topic less-stressful and uncomfortable. Here is what you can do to get the conversation started. 

A Delicate Balance

Acknowledging that your loved one is getting older is tough for most people, it is both completely necessary and a delicate balance. A recent study revealed that 80 million American families haven’t talked about end-of-life issues. 70 percent of these conversations are prompted by a health crisis or an emergency. You shouldn’t wait this long to talk about something that is so deeply a part of life. 

Getting the conversation started early helps. It is best to talk to older people about their health while they are still healthy, not when they are looking at the end of their life. Speaking with a licensed talk therapist is also beneficial. BetterHelp provides a number of qualified therapists who can help you find the right words and correct tone when communicating with your elderly loved ones.

If you start the conversation early, it will be a lot easier to make plans. Talking about end-of-life issues is much less uncomfortable when you do it bit by bit, conversation by conversation. 

A rule of thumb on when to talk to your parents about the end of their life is when you are 40 or they are 70, but it can be helpful to get the conversation earlier. When you do finally bring it up, it should be with the overt statement that death is a natural part of life and that everyone will experience it. Knowing how to plan is necessary. Explaining this to them will help everybody. 

Acknowledge the Commonality

A helpful way to bring the topic up is to acknowledge your own mortality. It is the same for everyone around the world. If you are planning on discussing life insurance with them, for example, take the time to do the research and come up with your own plan for insurance. According to MoneyPug, the site used to find the best life insurance policies, this will help you bring up the topic in a more sensitive way by mentioning that you have thought about it for yourself as well. 

Bringing the topic up in this way can not only lead to more calm answers, it will put you in control of the conversation. Ask your loved one what they would want should something happen. If you bring up topics like medical treatment, terminal illness, the inability to make decisions, and long-term care it will show your parents that you are trying to fulfill their wishes. This brings just about everyone peace of mind. Giving them independence will facilitate the conversation greatly. 

Educate Yourself

The more you have to offer in terms of hard examples, the easier these conversations will be. It is best to educate yourself before you bring up certain issues. Once you know how things work in the medical field, hospice care, and life insurance issues, you will be better equipped to handle certain conversations. Think about how a conversation will go and what your loved one might say to specific questions. When you are prepared for any answer, you will be able to come up with new ways to assuage the situation and provide rebuttals. 

Whoever you are and however old your loved ones are, you have a chance to make this a truly productive conversation. It doesn’t have to be scary, uncomfortable, and stressful. Instead, do your research, think about the outcomes, and show empathy to the aging person and you will be able make it a beautiful experience. Knowing what your parents want before they pass away is central to putting them to rest. Approaching these conversations in the right way helps everyone. 

Do your best to show that you care about their wishes and you will have a better conversation about the subject. It is best not to wait until your parents are at the end of bring up end-of-life planning. If you start early it will be a meaningful experience. You will be able to comfort your parents before their health fails. You will be able to send them off right.