3 Tips for Talking to Your Parents About End-of-Life Decisions
Talking about end-of-life planning with your parents is no simple feat, as no one wants to think about death. However, planning for the end of your loved one’s lives can safeguard their well-being and put your mind at ease.
Some ways to make the process easier are to ask these vital questions:
- Whom they want to make decisions on their behalf
- Their preferences for final arrangements
- Whom they want to receive their belongings
Asking these key questions makes the process easier for you and assures your parents that their wishes will be seen through to the end.
But how do you initiate this essential yet emotional conversation? Use these three tips to guide you as you start the talk with your parents.
1. Take One Step at a Time.
Think of initiating the talk as learning how to swim or run a marathon. Help your parents get used to planning end-of-life decisions by slowly introducing the idea a little bit at a time. Our relationships with our parents are also unique, so the process will be different for everyone.
For instance, don’t begin the conversation by recommending that they start thinking about funeral planning. While this is an essential step to securing a solid future, it may be better to begin by suggesting they consider planning their finances.
Once they get comfortable with this and realize that planning ahead provides them with peace of mind, you can carefully bring up other factors, like where they want to live after retirement.
Knowing whether they want to downsize, move to a retirement community, or hope to live with you or a relative will help everyone involved make plans to ensure a smooth transition process. After a while, you will have planned out all aspects of your parent’s lives without unnecessary stress or pressure.
Start the talk in a familiar environment where your parents feel comfortable.
2. Make Your Motivations Clear.
Your parents know that you have their best interest in mind. However, it’s a good idea to be especially careful about making your intentions clear when you first recommend planning end-of-life decisions.
Emphasize the fact that your motivation for initiating the talk is their safety, quality of life, and well-being.
Make sure your parents see that by initiating the talk, you’re trying to ensure that everything they want is taken care of when they’re no longer able to voice their wants and needs.
Another important factor to point out is that while their health and happiness is the primary goal, failing to plan these decisions ahead of time can negatively impact you and your family. This will take the spotlight off of them and allow them to focus on preparing their futures for their loved ones.
3. Be Vigilant of Health Concerns.
One way to know that it’s time to begin the talk is when you notice your parent’s health is declining. If you are caring for elderly parents, you may notice changes in their behavior or lifestyle.
Some possible signs that your parent’s health may be declining include:
- Trouble paying their bills
- Falling victim to scams
- Experiencing difficulty with their memory
- Skipping their medication
If you begin to notice these changes, then it may be in their best interest to begin laying out a strong foundation for end-of-life care.
Everything from their retirement savings to their funeral preferences should be established. However, many adults fail to do this, as almost 48 percent of households with occupants aged 55 or older in the U.S. have no retirement plan or savings, according to a 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office.
This can cause severe problems for all adults, but especially for those who are ill.
Having “The Talk” Is One of the Most Important Conversations You Will Ever Have
Talk to your loved ones about how their health statuses are concerning you and how you’ll help them create a sustainable future now. Then they can sit back and relax, knowing their finances and end-of-life decisions are in the hands of people they know and trust.
National Cremation is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of simple and affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan your cremation services in advance, we’re always available to assist you and your family. Contact us online or call (855)-469-9474 today.