We have all experienced those times in our life when we feel things are passing by too quickly. There are important things we still want to do and enjoy and yet, somehow we never get to them. For example, we want to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us and take the time to have a meaningful conversation with them.
If we did have those meaningful conversations, what would we say? How would we express our emotions, needs or desires?
Interestingly, one of the least talked about topics with our loved ones is our end of life wishes.
We are all going to pass on at some point. What do we want at the end of our life? And why don’t we talk about it? What is the barrier? Is it too sad?
In my line of work, we talk about the end of life. In particular, when we are helping a family through the senior living transition process, we ask about end of life preferences. Here are some ideas that families have shared with me on how to have a more meaningful conversation with your loved one on this topic:
- Make a list of what is important to you: Writing and sharing with loved ones can make the conversation more manageable and it helps you organize your thoughts ahead of time.
- Get organized: Many of us procrastinate on the big things in life such as estate planning and power of attorney choices. Meet with a professional who can help you plan ahead. Once you have a plan, it’s much easier to share and discuss with family.
- Ask for help: This idea seems to be difficult for most of us. Asking for help seems to imply weakness for many of us, but talking to a friend or others in your social circle can help you better understand options and help you think through what is important to you.
What is most interesting is that families often ask me, “why doesn’t anyone prepare us for these discussions?” I’m thankful to say that this is changing and there are resources that can help. A good place to start is The Conversation Project. This site has wonderful tips and tools for planning for the future and sharing your plan with others.
In short, take the time to have those meaningful conversations. It makes it all worthwhile.
About the author: Cindy Hartin is the owner of Beacon Senior Resources, a full-service senior living referral agency. She has experienced the challenge of aging parents and the family struggle to make good decisions for their loved ones firsthand. Cindy’s Mom and Dad both suffered from dementia and passed away within the last few years. With her background in hospital administration and employee benefits, Cindy understands the senior living world and the options available. She created Beacon to provide a professional and caring service to families throughout Arizona. Cindy believes that every senior deserves the best care with dignity at the most vulnerable time in their lives. Her mission is to educate and advocate for all seniors throughout Arizona. For more information, visit the website.