What Should I Ask My Elderly Family Member About End of Life Wishes?

Having a conversation around the topic of estate planning is often difficult for adult children. This is because it means coming to terms with your parents’ own mortality and discussing issues on which you might not agree.

Even though the subject might be uncomfortable to broach, it is good to have this conversation with your parents well before you need to take action on any of these specific wishes, otherwise your parents’ estate plan is incomplete without these clear directives. Although the form those directives will take depend on the state in which they live, they might include things like;

  • Physician orders for life sustaining treatment, which regards your loved one’s wishes about what kind of treatment they do or do not want to receive.
  • A living will with details about termination of life support under specific conditions.
  • The appointment of a health care proxy who can make medical decisions on behalf of your parent if they become incapable of making them on their own.
  • An advanced or medical directive that explains what kind of care they would like.

All of these circumstances can be very unwelcome to deal with in the moment but it is important to have a plan in advance so that you can be able to take the necessary next steps should something happened to your elderly parent.

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