Holidays Are The Perfect Time to Share More Than Turkey
Posted: November 25, 2013
The holiday season is upon us and families, friends and loved ones will be hosting get-togethers. Now is the perfect time to start talking about the things that matter – including your end of life wishes.
Although Americans overwhelmingly agree that discussing how they and their loved ones would prefer to be cared for at the end of life is important, fewer than 30 percent report ever having such a discussion.
According to a recent national survey conducted by Kelton, a strategic consultancy firm, respondents cited several reasons for not initiating important advance care planning conversations, including that it never seems like the right time, it is not something they need to worry about right now and that they do not know how to start such a conversation.
With siblings and multiple generations all in one place, now is the time to talk about important issues we will all face. Families report greater satisfaction in knowing what their loved ones want at the end of life and face less chaos when wishes are known.
As you gather together over the holidays with loved ones, begin finding out what your mom, dad, sibling or other loved one wishes for at the end of his or her life. Let now be the right time, before it is too late.
Here are some ways to get the conversation started:
- “I would like to talk to you about the end-of-life and your wishes. Is that okay?”
- “If you ever got sick, I am scared I won’t know what to do. Can we talk about what you want? I also want to share my wishes with you."
- “I am thankful that we are all in good health, but just in case something happens, I would like to know what you want.”
- “Let me tell you what I want, so you know what’s important to me.”
- “I want to be certain you know what I would want if I ever get seriously ill or can’t speak for myself. 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.”
Remember that this is a sensitive conversation and your loved ones may require time to think about their answers. Be persistent and continue to revisit this conversation over time as health and wishes change. There are also many online resources, including Aging with Dignity, The Conversation Project and Prepare to help you and your loved ones initiate and document your wishes.
Take advantage of this holiday season with your loved ones. Do not let end of life wishes go unshared. Share your wishes with those you love.
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