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Serving Up Straight Talk During the Holidays

When siblings and multiple generations are together, conditions are ideal to talk turkey about that crucial issue. Whether you want your adult children to hear your wishes or you are a baby boomer preparing to help care for your senior parents, it is valuable to begin or continue the discussion about end-of-life preferences. It is also useful for as many family members as possible to hear and understand what others want. An informed family can support the healthcare proxy and confirm they are indeed following a person’s stated wishes.

There is no one way to have these talks. Use whatever style suits your family. And while the paperwork is important, the essential thing is to get the conversation going!

Four Key Questions

Your conversation should cover these important points:

  1. How do you feel about extraordinary life-sustaining treatments if you cannot speak for yourself and:

                                + you have a terminal or very advanced illness?

                                + you are permanently unconscious?

                                + you have severe dementia as in Alzheimer’s disease?

  1. Do you always want all the information available? About your condition? About treatment options and their odds of success? And what success means for quality of life?
  2. 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?
  3. Would you want to be in a nursing facility if your condition warranted?

Are You Good to Go?
We have the tools you need to guide the conversation and document the results. They’re all in our Good to Go Toolkitand they’re all free.

Conversation Starters

Here are some ways to get the conversation going. These “appetizers” will lead the way to a satisfying dialogue.

I want to be certain you, my family, know what I would want if I ever get seriously ill and 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 suggested I 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 your priorities are for the end of life. .