But, it’s SO difficult to discuss!
We all have to have tough conversations sometimes. I’m not going to sugar coat it, talking about death and our funeral plans are probably the hardest. No one likes to say “hey, Mom, so I’ve been thinking about your death…” However, it’s even more difficult NOT to have important discussions. Aging and dying are a fact of life, ignoring them won’t make them go away. Not planning for the future will not change it – it will just make tough decisions tougher when the time comes.
There are a lot of ways to start important discussions. I know a lady who won’t serve her family dessert on holidays until they have a “medical moment” discussion. I know others who call big family meetings for difficult discussions. Others still make them a normal part of the daily dialogue.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get all questions answered and plans put in place during an initial conversation. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t seem to make much progress – instead, approach it as the first of many talks to help you learn more about your loved one’s life and what they value most.
Even if you do feel you’ve covered most of the issues you wanted to address, it’s still a good idea to check in periodically to ensure your loved one is comfortable with the plans that are in place. This will also help your loved one understand their plans can be changed later if they realize their preferences have shifted.