How to Approach End-of-Life Care Discussions

How to Approach End-of-Life Care Discussions

Talking to a loved one about end-of-life care is one of the hardest discussions to have. Whether it’s your elderly parents, an older relative, or someone else dear to your heart, it can feel cold and callous to broach the subject of the end of their life. Ironically, it’s because you love them so much that you need and want to have the talk in the first place. Your elderly law attorneys at Beasley & Ferber have these tips to help you with this arduous task.

Choose Your Time and Setting

Choose an appropriate time and setting that supports both you and your elderly loved one’s needs and privacy. Avoid bringing up the topic at breakfast or too close to bedtime, when people might be tired. Choose a quiet place, away from the public eye. Avoid having it in a restaurant or in a doctor’s lobby, for instance.

Be Patient

Don’t be surprised if your loved one resists the talk the first time you bring it up. Some people just need more time to process actually saying things like this “out loud.” Be patient and don’t push. When you see them next, you might just ask, “Have you given any more thought to our conversation about care last week?” or something similar.

Consider Who Should be Part of the Discussion

Don’t feel that you need to have this discussion all by yourself. Consider inviting siblings or a trusted family member. Only do so with the permission of your elderly loved one, however.

Don’t be Condescending

Everyone passes away, and it’s almost guaranteed that, as awkward as it may feel to broach the topic, your elderly loved one has already thought about their own passing. Avoid using placating words or a tone that sounds like you’re talking to a child. Approach it like two adults having an important conversation about life events.

Start With Yourself

Many people find that it’s quite helpful to start the conversation by mentioning what you would want to happen when you yourself become elderly. Then it’s a natural step to ask your loved one if they have thought about end-of-life care. From there, you can suggest writing things down on a notepad and making some preliminary plans.

Keep Things Light

It’s natural that this discussion will feel heavy and dark. But feel free to add some levity if it feels appropriate. Depending upon your relationship, some smiles might help to keep things from becoming too maudlin.

Have Some Ideas in Mind

It’s helpful to gather some information ahead of time so you can help to guide the discussion. This is good for—not forcing a set of circumstances—but assuring your elderly loved ones that they are in capable hands. One very helpful suggestion that you can make is to take your notes to an experienced elderly law attorney who knows how to help with all things associated with end-of-life care, such as Beasley & Ferber.

Contact Beasley & Ferber

After you’ve had your thoughtful discussion with your loved one, make an appointment with Beasley & Ferber. We are here to help with all things related to elder law, including end-of-life care plans.