Conversations About End-of-Life Preferences Builds Confidence

By Lisa Pahl, LCSW

Completing your advance directive and living will is important. Yet, often, that’s all that happens.

It's common for the person to complete these documents and tuck them away without discussing their wishes with family members. This can lead to confusion and uncertainty when the time comes for the family members to make healthcare decisions on their behalf. 

“Wait, dad’s advance directive says he wants everything done.”

“Well, he filled that out thirty years ago, before he had dementia. I really don’t think he would want a feeding tube now.”

There are countless situations like this.

Now, picture if there had been ongoing conversations about dad's wishes as he aged. 

"Dad said clearly, 'I don't want a feeding tube if I can no longer recognize people.'"

Talk with your family about what your wishes would be. Discuss what quality of life looks like to you.

Share what you would want should you be diagnosed with dementia.
It’s the conversations that give us confidence. We can remember the words that our family members say and that helps us feel more sure of the decisions we need to make. 

The Death Deck can help get these important conversations started. Five Wishes is a specific advance directive that can help guide conversations. The Conversation Project has some great conversation guides as well. 

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