Talking With Loved Ones About Final Wishes
Initiating a conversation with a loved one about their final wishes can be a challenging prospect. But understanding a loved one’s wishes for end-of-life arrangements is one of the most loving and respectful ways to honor them. There are several ways to relieve some of the distress associated with end-of-life conversations. Preparing ahead and approaching the discussion with the right frame of mind can help both parties feel more at ease, ultimately ensuring that a loved one’s final requests are understood and followed.
Broach the subject carefully
Introducing the subject in a calm and subdued manner requires the proper setting. Ideally, an end-of-life conversation should be carried out in a peaceful location that can afford both privacy and soothing associations. Because it is such an emotionally charged subject, it’s best to approach end-of-life conversations gently. Asking questions that subtly steer the conversation in the right direction, for instance, is a good way to make the discussion seem less intimidating. Phrasing questions in terms of, “What can I do?” and “How can I help?” will help make it clear that the subject is being brought up out of a genuine sense of concern.
Helpful Resources for End-of-Life Planning
- The Benefits of End-of-Life Planning
Gate City Cremation Service is expert in direct cremation and committed to help you in difficult and stressful time of death in the family.
- Talking to Parents about Funeral Planning
Of the many less-than-pleasant tasks a caregiver must take on, one is making arrangements for how a loved one will be remembered.
- Surprising Finding: The Hardest Conversation To Have With Aging Parents - Forbes
A recent Pfizer study on getting old and attitudes about it revealed that most respondents found talking to elderly parents about giving up driving was harder than even talking about end of life issues. If you are facing this and don't know what...
- The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying
This post originally appeared in Collective Evolution. A palliative nurse recorded the most common regrets of the dying and put her findings into a book called "The Top Five Regrets of The Dying." It’s not surprising to see what ma...
Consider alternatives in case of resistance
In cases where a loved one expresses discomfort or reluctance, it’s important to consider other possible alternatives. This might mean putting the discussion off for a later date, or finding another means of communication altogether. A loved one may be more comfortable talking about their wishes with someone else involved in the discussion, such as a spouse, close friend or a doctor. In some cases, talking about the end of life is simply too painful or fraught with fear. In this case, allowing a loved one to write their wishes on paper when they’re ready can be an easier, less threatening way to deal with the subject.
Make any necessary arrangements
After the discussion, it’s important to take the appropriate steps to ensure that a loved one’s final requests are carried out. When dealing with medical wishes, such as palliative care or intervention in case they become incapacitated, it’s important to talk to doctors and caregivers and make sure that any necessary forms have been filled out and filed. Final wishes regarding ceremony and cremation services can be discussed and reviewed with family members to make sure everyone involved is informed. Consulting a lawyer will most likely be necessary when dealing with requests regarding a loved one’s estate. Having a will in place ensures that wishes regarding assets and belongings are properly executed.
Granting some peace of mind
Having a conversation about final wishes can be hard and emotional for everyone involved, but doing so is the best way to grant a loved one some measure of comfort and peace of mind. Knowing that their final requests have been made clear, and trusting that they will be carried out, will ease some of their worries and make them feel honored and respected.
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