It isn’t easy to start a conversation with your parents or other aging loved ones about hospice care. It’s hard to admit that someone you love may be dying, and it may be harder still for that person to be willing to face his or her own impending death. However, hospice can offer enormous help and comfort to both patients and their families, and too many people miss out on it because they delay the conversation too long.
Bringing It Up In Advance
Instead of waiting for someone to be in a terminal condition, you should bring it up far in advance. This way, you will know your loved one’s wishes, so it will be a lot easier to bring up the conversation again later. One simple and nonthreatening way to go about it is to think of questions about end-of-life care issues and decide how you yourself would answer them.
Questions to Consider
For instance, what would you do if you had lost your capacity to make decisions for yourself? Who would you appoint to make those choices for you? How would that person know what you want if you haven’t discussed it with them? What kind of care would you want for yourself if you knew you were in a terminal condition?
Once you’ve thought through your own answers to these questions, you can broach the subject with your parents and others. Focus on your own future instead of pressuring your parents to discuss theirs. Hopefully, they will be motivated to discuss their wishes on their own as a natural response to yours.
Don’t Wait! Have The Conversation!
It’s a great idea to have this conversation while your parents are in good health and probably years away from needing hospice. Milestone events such as graduations and family celebrations are ideal opportunities to have a lighthearted but important talk about the future.