Have You Had the Talk?

20 Aug

The best time to talk to the older people in your life about end of life matters is when they are still able to make decisions for themselves.

If the elderly people in your life haven’t had “the talk” with you and aren’t likely to do so, then you need to have the talk with them. And it’s best to do it sooner than later.  Believe me, carrying out a person’s wishes is much easier than having to decide for them.

As for what you need to talk about:

  • If they were to become ill or unable to carry out activities of daily living, do they wish to move to a facility or stay in their own home with help?
  • If they wish to stay in their own home, can they afford to pay for home care or potential renovations to make the home more accessible?
  • How long would he or she wish to remain in their home if they become mentally or physically incapacitated?
  • Do they have long term care or critical illness insurance? How about extended health coverage?A list of all doctors, therapists and current medications (this type of information is especially helpful when bringing an older person into a hospital ER).
  • Designating someone to carry out their personal and financial affairs should they no long be able to do so. Have they done so and do the designates know?
  • Do they have Powers of Attorney for personal care and property? If so, where are the documents
  • End of life decisions and advance directives, including to what extent medical intervention should be carried out.
  • You don’t need to know what is in the Last Will and Testament, but you should know if there is one, with whom the original is kept, and how recently it was drawn up (if the will was written more than 10 years ago, determine if the executors are alive or able to perform their duties).
  • Have they thought about funeral arrangements?
  • Do they want to be buried or cremated?
  • If the person expects to be buried, has he or she purchased a plot or belong to a burial society?

These are not easy subjects and it will not be an easy talk to have. But if you have aging loved ones, your ability to help them will be that much greater if you face the future while they are still able.

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2 Responses to “Have You Had the Talk?”

  1. lifeonwry.com April 6, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    So, so, so true. Just had some more this week. So hard to understand until you get there.

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