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End Of Life Discussions

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Many adult children are hesitant to bring up end-of-life discussions with their parents in fear that it is an insensitive topic of conversation or none of their business (until it is). It’s hard to face the fact that there will come a day when our parents are no longer with us. The harsh reality is that failing to plan is planning to fail. Regardless of age, medical diagnoses or life’s plan, having the conversation as early as possible will make the decision-making process less painful in the long-run by honoring your loved-one’s wishes and inevitably second-guessing yourself. 

While we don’t have a crystal ball and we do not know where life is going to take us, we can be proactive. Start the conversation with your loved one by using a real-life example. Perhaps you know someone that is going through the pain and heartache of having to make major-life decisions for his or her parent, or you recently read an article where a family was fighting over whether or not to keep dad on life support. Use these opportunities to ask if he or she has thoughts about end of life decisions.  Approach the conversation from a place of love. If he or she is not open to sharing, or says something like, “I’m healthy, I don’t need to think about that yet,” lead by example and start the process for yourself! It is never too early to plan for yourself. 

Starting the Discussion:

  • A popular resource used to start the process is “It’s more than just a document. Five Wishes is a complete approach to discussing and documenting your care and comfort choices. It’s about connecting families, communicating with healthcare providers, and showing your community what it means to care for one another.”  
  • Meet with an attorney to draft a living will, Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney. Most older adults will want to meet with an Elder-Law Attorney. To find an Elder-Law Attorney to best suit your needs, visit NAELA.

Feel like you need additional guidance or individualized support?

Our team of Certified Senior Advisors® and Certified Dementia Practitioners® has helped hundreds of older adults and their families. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call 617-227-1600 or email [email protected].

Dovetail Companies provides one point of contact for all services seniors may need when transitioning from their longtime home, minimizing stress and providing peace of mind to focus on the transition rather than the logistics. Dovetail Companies is the parent company to three subsidiary companies; Dovetail Support Services, Dovetail Financial and Dovetail Real Estate Group. For more information, visit or call 617-227-1600.

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