Talking about end-of-life issues is daunting, especially when it involves your parents. Nevertheless, we know that having these difficult conversations in advance can lead to a better quality of life during the late stages of one’s time. Here are some suggestions on how to talk to aging parents about their future:
Don't Put It Off
Discussing end-of-life issues is best when conducted over time with multiple opportunities to explore the options available and the subject's emotions. Family members who wait until a health crisis occurs end up making rash decisions without knowing their loved one's preferences. Talking in advance allows everyone to process that death is a part of life and should be properly planned for, like college, marriage, or retirement.
Plan a Proper Introduction
When you develop a more straightforward and accepting view of mortality, it will be easier to approach your elderly parents because you’ll be speaking from an empathetic perspective. You may use your personal experience to justify the benefits of pre-planning, especially if you’ve already prepared a trust, living will, or bought a funeral plan for yourself or another family member.
You may also ask your parents what it was like when their parents passed away. Through these personal discussions, you can find out what went wrong (or right) at your grandparents' end of life, and then ask: "How would you want it to be for you when it's your time?"
During the discussion, write down your parent's most critical wishes, and then review your notes together to ensure accuracy. These notes will come in handy in the future in verifying your conversation with your parents. Also, have them complete an advance directive form and be sure they share it with a medical provider and an attorney.
Everyone will benefit once you talk to your parents about the end of life. But always remember, this isn't a one-time conversation. If you want to discover how to talk to aging parents about their future, you can reach out to Direct Cremation Services of Virginia. We’ll be glad to assist you with a variety of funeral pre-planning options.