MANY find that starting a conversation about end-of-life issues with family members and friends can be difficult.
At the same time, experts say it’s a necessary conversation and can be rewarding for all involved. A national survey by The Conversation Project (theconversationproject.org) found that nine in 10 Americans want to discuss their loved ones’ and their own end-of-life care, but only about three in 10 have had these conversations.
A helpful tool
Fortunately, there is a new tool available from the Eldercare Locator and The Conversation Project to help you start, guide and suggest topics for consideration. “Let’s Talk: Starting the Conversation about Health, Legal, Financial and End-of-Life Issues” is a new, free brochure that is now available to help those who need a place to start.
Let’s Talk includes tips about preparing to talk with loved ones and starting the conversation, suggestions of what issues to discuss, ideas for when to continue the conversation, and where to go in your community for additional resources.
Tips from the brochure
Here are a few suggestions on how to approach the conversation.
• Have a practice conversation with a friend or write a letter about what you would like to say.
• Select the correct time to talk, such as during the holidays when family and friends gather.
• Be open to having multiple conversations about these complicated issues.
• Identify which health documents need to be shared and their locations. These could include health insurance policies, doctor information and necessary medications.
• Make sure you have completed crucial legal documents, such as durable power of attorney, a will and any health care advance directives.
• Share information about where and how to access financial records, such as bills, tax returns and bank records, with those involved.
• Identify who should or should not be involved in providing care.
• Community resources, such as your local Agency on Aging, might be able to assist with education, legal resources and planning.
To order a free copy of “Let’s Talk,” call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or download it at www.eldercare.gov.
The Eldercare Locator is a free, public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging and is administered by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). North American Precis Syndicate