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Discussing health care directives with your elderly parent

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2022 | Estate Planning

As your elderly parent ages, it is essential to have open and honest conversations about their wishes for the future. This includes discussing healthcare directives or decisions that must be made if they cannot speak for themselves. 

It can be difficult to have these conversations, but they are necessary to ensure that your loved one receives the care they want and deserve. 

Tips for approaching the topic

Health care directives are legal documents that allow individuals to specify their medical care preferences if they cannot make decisions for themselves. These directives can include general instructions, such as a preference for life-sustaining treatment, and specific requests, such as a desire to donate organs. 

Many adult children find themselves having to have a difficult conversation with their aging parents regarding their health care directives. Here are a few tips to help you determine if your parent is ready to discuss this topic:

  1. Look for key indicators that your parent is considering end-of-life issues. These may include comments about their mortality or discussions about funeral arrangements.
  2. Gauge your parent’s overall health and cognitive status. If they are generally in good health and have a good understanding of their medical care, they are more likely to be able to make informed decisions about end-of-life care.
  3. Respect your parent’s wishes if they do not desire to discuss directives, and do not force the issue. Conversely, if they indicate that they are ready to talk, listen attentively and without judgment. 

Finalizing your elderly parent’s health care directives can be complex and emotionally charged. However, it is vital to have this discussion while your parent is still of sound mind and able to make their own decisions. Ultimately, having this conversation with your elderly parent is a delicate but necessary process that can help ensure their wishes are respected and carried out.