The holiday season is coming, and with it dinners and get-togethers with family and loved ones. Yes, you guessed it: It’s the perfect time to sit down and talk about your end-of-life wishes.
Seriously. With siblings and multiple generations united, conditions are ideal to talk turkey about an important issue we all will face. Need to get Mom or Dad to discuss their end-of-life preferences? Trying to get your adult children to listen to your thoughts about dying? You’ll find that they are surprisingly receptive at family gatherings. How do you get the conversation started?
After many attempts to get family members engaged, one Compassion & Choices client set her Thanksgiving table with advance directive forms at every place setting and announced, “Nobody gets dinner until these Are filled out.” Now that’s some tough turkey. Your best approach is the one that suits you and those around you. And while the paperwork is important, the essential thing is to get the conversation going!
1. How do you feel about life support if:
- you have a terminal illness?
- you’re in a permanent coma?
- you have an irreversible chronic illness like Alzheimer’s disease?
2. Do you always want to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? About your condition? About treatment options and their odds of success? And what success means for quality of life?
3. What will be important to you when you are dying? No pain? Hold on as long as possible? Family members present? What are your priorities?
4. Would you want to be placed in a nursing home if your condition warranted?
Are you good to go?
We have the tools you need to guide your conversation and document the results. They’re all in our Good-to-Go Toolkit, and they’re all free:
- A values worksheet to structure your decision-making.
- Advance directive forms for every state.
- An optional dementia provision – that only Compassion & Choices offers.
- Contract rider for assisted-living facilities contracts. Use this to ensure your new home intends respects your choices.
- Visit tiny.cc./advance-directive
- Call 800.247.7421 to get info by mail or to speak to one of our consultants.
Here are some ways to get the conversation going.
“I want to be certain you guys know what I would want if I ever get seriously ill or can’t speak for myself. What do you think I would want? What would you say to the doctors for me? What would you want me to say for you?”
“My doctor/attorney/pastor says I need to go over my advance directive with you.”
“If one of us ever had to make decisions about your treatment because you couldn’t, it would be much easier if we knew what you really want.”
Download and Print These Valuable Tools
This one-page conversation starter will help you get the ball rolling at your next family gathering.
Download the full Fall Magazine and Annual Report here for the full text of Talking Turkey and much more.