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Discussing End of Life Care with Aging Parents

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Talking to your elder parents about end of life care

No one looks forward to discussing end of life issues with aging parents, but this is something that needs to and should be done.

Having the conversation is necessary so that your senior’s preferences may be honored, if at all possible, and so that your contribution to the decision-making can be based on an understanding of those wishes.

The conversation should be ongoing, rather than just occurring one time, and hopefully each time the topic is revisited it will become more comfortable, as you and your elderly loved one become more used to discussing the range of future possibilities together.

Here are some tips to help you through the discussion:

How to begin a conversation about future wishes with your senior

One way to begin is by asking your senior what their biggest concerns are for the future. This topic may evoke thoughts on the past, regrets, or a life assessment. Listen uncritically, with empathy.  Having your senior share these thoughts with you can bring you closer.

Discuss your senior’s preferences regarding housing options

While most people prefer to remain in their current home, ask your senior what they would like to do if that were no longer possible. Sometimes this conversation will bring forth your senior’s expectations about moving in with one of their children, which can be helpful to know.

Ask your senior if they feel financially secure

It is important for you to have a record of your senior’s insurance policies, such as Medicare, Medigap, prescription coverage plan, and any long term care insurance.  If your senior doesn’t already have a will, durable power of attorney and health care proxy, now is a good time to see an elder care attorney so that they can have their wishes resolved as to asset distribution and care.

Discuss your senior’s feelings about their medical care and whether or not they are satisfied with their physicians

Does your senior have any concerns about their medical care? Do they have any concerns about their doctors? Do you need to help them find better ones? What are your senior’s wishes as to medical interventions and end-of-life care?

Discuss your senior’s wishes as to death, dying and funerals

Do your parents have any preferences as to funeral and burial? These conversations are difficult, but you need to resolve them sooner rather than later. Researching and selecting specific services isn’t morbid, and can help when the time comes.  Seniors to be assured their wishes will be followed even when their adult child is feeling sad and possibly overwhelmed when arranging a funeral.

Posted by: Frank Esposito, Vice President of Expert Home Care.  New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional and reliable home health care and companion care for NJ elderly, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have home care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.

Expert Home Care

Frank Esposito has 33 years experience in the field of non-medical home care and home health care in the state of New Jersey (NJ). As an operations manager he has delivered over 65 million hours of service to 8,000 + clients. He is sought after nationwide as a consultant and trainer.

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