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How to Talk to an Elderly Parent About End of Life Decisions

End of life decisions are some of the most difficult that a person will ever have to make. They can be especially difficult if you are talking to an elderly parent about them. If your parent is getting close to the end of their life, it’s important to talk to them about their wishes.

This includes discussing things like whether or not they want to be kept on life support, what kind of care they would like in their final days, and funeral arrangements. If your parent is not mentally stable enough to make these decisions themselves, you will need to step in and make them for them.

In this blog post, we will discuss how to talk to an elderly parent about end of life decisions, why it’s important to do so,

Why it’s Important to Discuss End of Life Decisions With an Elderly Parent

As we get older, it’s natural to start thinking about our own mortality. For some of us, this may be a difficult thing to think about. We may not want to face the fact that one day we will die. However, it’s important to have these discussions with our loved ones.

End of life decisions can be difficult for anyone to make. But if you wait until your parent is on their deathbed, it may be too late. They may not be able to communicate their wishes at that point. Or, if they can communicate their wishes, you may not be able to understand what they’re trying to say.

It’s important to discuss end of life decisions with your elderly parent while they are still relatively healthy. This way, you can be sure that you know their wishes and can make the decisions that they would want you to make.

Questions to Ask Your Elderly Parent Regarding End of Life Decisions

When you’re talking to your elderly parent about end of life decisions, there are a few key questions that you should ask them.

Do You Have a Living Will or Advance Directive?

First, find out if they have a living will or advance directive. These documents outline a person’s wishes for end of life care. If your parent does not have a living will or advance directive, encourage them to create one.

What Are Your Wishes Regarding Life Support?

Next, ask your parent what their wishes are regarding life support. Do they want to be kept on life support if they are terminally ill? Or would they prefer to be allowed to die naturally?

What Are Your Wishes Regarding Hospice Care?

Hospice care is a type of end of life care that focuses on comfort rather than cure. It can be provided at home, in a hospice facility, or a hospital. Ask your parent if they have any preference for where they would like to receive hospice care.

What Are Your Wishes Regarding Funeral Arrangements?

Finally, ask your parent what their wishes are regarding funeral arrangements. Do they want to be cremated or buried? Do they have any specific requests for their funeral service? 

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

After you’ve asked your parent about their wishes for end of life care, they may have something else that they want to tell you. They may want to share their feelings about death or what they’re hoping for in the afterlife. Or, they may just want to say goodbye. Let them talk, and try to listen with an open mind.

When to Discuss End of Life Decisions With an Elderly Parent

The best time to discuss end of life decisions with an elderly parent is when they are still relatively healthy. This way, they can be sure that their wishes will be carried out.

If your parent is already ill or in decline, you may still want to have these discussions. However, you should be prepared for the possibility that they may not be able to communicate their wishes clearly. In this case, it’s important to rely on your own best judgment.

What if Your Parent Is Not Mentally Stable Enough to Discuss End of Life Decisions?

There may come a time when your parent is not mentally stable enough to discuss end of life decisions. This can happen if they develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

If this happens, you will need to make the decisions for them. It’s important to talk to other family members and your parent’s doctor to get their input. You should also try to find out what your parent’s wishes were before they became ill. This can help you make the best decisions for them.

Handling Heavy Emotions Regarding End of Life Discussions

End of life discussions can be emotionally difficult. You may find yourself feeling sad, scared, or angry. It’s okay to feel these things.

Try to remember that you are doing this for your parent. They deserve to have their wishes respected. And, when the time comes, you will be glad that you had these discussions. If you are struggling to process the reality of your parent’s mortality, consider talking to a therapist or counselor.

End of Life Decisions in Hospice Care

If your parent is in hospice care, the staff will work with you to carry out their wishes. Hospice staff is trained to help families with end of life decision-making. They can answer any questions you have and help you through this difficult time.

Making End of Life Decisions Is Not Easy, But It’s Important

Making end of life decisions is never easy. But it’s important to discuss these things with your elderly parent while they are still healthy. This way, you can be sure that their wishes will be carried out. 

Additionally, having this important conversation will help to reduce some of the stress and anxiety that comes with end of life decision-making.

We are passionate about doing our best to ensure that your loved one’s end of life wishes are carried out according to their plan. If you have any questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.

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