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Wednesday
Mar262014

Having the (Difficult) Conversation With Your Parents

"It's not easy to talk about dying, but it's vitally important."

Whether we like it or not, and whether we talk about it or not, it is inevitable that our parents and other older relatives (and don't forget, us too!) will face the consequences of aging. An elder law attorney said recently that in past decades we didn't really worry about the issues of getting older since "we drank, we smoked, and we died shortly after we retired." While clearly this was a humorous exaggeration, it is not exaggerating to say that we do have an aging population in the US and people are living longer. But this also means that more people are facing disability, dementia, and debilitating illnesses long before they die.

The question for you is, what if one of these people is your parent or another loved one? Have you ever discussed these critical matters with your loved ones—namely what happens in the event of disability or death; who takes care of what; a parent’s (or grandparent’s, or your own) wishes on end of life medical care and funeral/burial/cremation choices; your wishes on guardians for minor children; and other critical, but admittedly sensitive and gloomy topics?

In other words, did your family engage in “the Conversation” as it is called by a growing movement called the Conversation Project. The intent of this Project is to encourage families to have these important discussions before it is too late, and to provide them with the tools to make having this conversation a bit easier—using what they call the “Conversation Starter Kit.”

Why is this conversation so important? Consider these statistics:

60% of people say that making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions is “extremely important.”

Yet 56% have not communicated their end-of-life wishes.

70% of people say they prefer to die at home.

Yet 70% die in a hospital, nursing home, or long-term care facility.

82% of people say it’s important to put their wishes in writing.

Yet 23% have actually done so.

You are starting to see the reason for the Conversation Project—providing families with the tools they need to help them change these statistics and give all of the family the peace of mind of knowing that there is a plan, that everyone knows it (and knows where the legal documents are located), and that they will be ready and able to carry out the wishes of their loved ones when necessary. 

I recently wrote an article on the Conversation Project which you can read HERE. The Conversation Project starter kit and other information is available at www.TheConversationProject.org

Learn more about Peace of Mind planning at www.MyPeaceOfMindPlan.com or at www.ReillyLawPLC.com 

Having this difficult but essential Conversation before it is too late can provide both you and your loved ones with peace of mind.

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