While there never seems to be a good time to talk about end-of-life care, one thing is for certain – not talking about it at all can be far more devastating. If you or a family member is facing life-threatening illnesses or advanced age, the holidays are the perfect time to start this conversation.
90% of people say that talking to loved ones about end-of-life care is important, but only 27% have actually done so.*
The vast majority of us miss this opportunity to discuss our wishes and preferences. What your family will want to avoid is the regret of not discussing end-of-life care while the time is right. The holidays are an important time of family sharing and togetherness.
Don’t be left heartbroken that you didn’t take advantage of this time to talk to your loved ones. Aim for peace of mind now rather than what could become tremendous stress, pain and guilt down the road.
Two of the Most Important Things You Can Do to Prepare: Talk and Listen
Once the conversation gets started, you may be surprised how liberating the results can actually be. Talking to loved ones about what you or they want for the final months, weeks or days keeps the control where it belongs – in your hands and not in the hands of the doctors, nurses or uninformed caregivers or family members, as well-meaning as they may be.
Start by asking about what is most important. This can range from type of treatment and pain management to medical interventions to where to die. Then listen. Often, the simple acknowledgement a willing ear can provide is enough to give a family much needed comfort at this time.
There are many helpful resources available to help frame the conversation and put details in writing to ensure they are honored when it becomes necessary. Visit theconversationproject.org and agingwithdignity.org.
A Trusted Local Resource is Also Here to Help
Regional Hospice and Home Care has been providing CT with 30 years of expert in-home end-of-life care. Our team sees the benefits and wellbeing that come to those who have had this discussion. In the past year, we have opened the state’s first and only all private suite hospice center. Our 36,000-square-foot Center for Comfort Care & Healing offers a unique and welcome option in end-of-life care for patients from all over.
If we can be of any assistance in supporting you or your loved ones during this time, please visit our Center for Comfort Care & Healing located off I-84, Exit 2A in Danbury, call (203) 702-7400 or find more information and a video tour at regionalhospicect.org.
*Source: The Conversation Project National Survey 2013.