Four Tips for Talking about End-of-life Issues with Family Members

If your elderly family member is in a position to talk with you about the end-of-life issues that she’s facing, then it’s important to have that conversation. You can make sure that you’re meeting her needs and that you’re also honoring her wishes should there come a time that she’s unable to talk with you.

Try to Avoid Fear Language

When you approach conversations like this using words that relate back to fear that’s going to color the conversation. Saying that you’re afraid or worried isn’t wrong, but it can give the conversation undertones that keep you from getting where you want to go. Instead, use words that express curiosity about how your senior feels or about what she wants. That type of phrasing can get you to the root of the matter more quickly.

Remember the Conversation Is Likely to Feel Uncomfortable

These types of conversations aren’t comfortable, unfortunately. If you go into the talk knowing that it’s likely to feel awkward and uncomfortable, you won’t be surprised when you get to that point. Breathe and remember that you’re getting information that you need in order to make the best decisions possible for your elderly family member.

Persist, Even if You Don’t Want To

Your aging adult may not want to have this conversation with you. In fact, it’s possible that you’ve both been putting this off for a while now. If that’s the case, you need to be persistent, even if you’re not excited about doing so. You can persist without being pushy or bossy, too, which is also going to be helpful in getting the information that you need. Backing off may be useful, but be careful that you and your elderly family member aren’t using that to avoid the talk you need to have.

Cover the Important Issues

Stick to the information that you need rather than getting distracted. For instance, you may need to determine whether palliative care services are right for your elderly family member. But if you get distracted by fear language and the awkward aspects of the conversation, you might miss this detail. Share with your senior what palliative care providers can do for her to make this time easier for her and go from there.

Many caregivers want to avoid these types of conversations because they can be awkward and they can be painful. The fact is, though, that you need to talk to your senior family member and other family members about what’s going on so that you can do what needs to be done.

IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING PALLIATIVE CARE IN SACRAMENTO, CA, FOR AN AGING LOVED ONE, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT PIC COMFORT CARE TODAY. CALL (530) 885-9948.

Shaun Clinkinbeard
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