Planning for end of life issues can be a very sensitive subject to bring up with family and close friends. But it’s a talk that can make the difference between having a good goodbye or a tragically complex and difficult road ahead.
The Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC) is an organization dedicated to offering direct and open information regarding death care and memorialization. FAMIC has developed a public awareness campaign urging families to “Have the talk of a lifetime,” and offering helpful resources to get started.
Having the talk of a lifetime means that you not only talk about end of life matters, but also about what matters most to your loved one and how they feel like they’ve made a difference.
These discussions can help family members learn what is most important to loved ones, and what they value most in life.
Some questions you could use to start the talk are:
- What is your proudest achievement?
- What was the one piece of advice you received from your parents or grandparents that you never forgot?
- Tell me about the most memorable summer you had growing up.
- Tell me about your favorite teacher; what did you learn from him or her?
- If you could spend a day doing anything you like, what would it be?
- Who has been your greatest inspiration?
You may want to record your conversation so that you have these stories to share with other family members and younger generations.
As you talk about the impact of your loved one’s life, end of life topics such as funeral wishes, healthcare preferences, and desires for allocating assets may arise. Begin to think about assembling an end of life team that can help you and your loved one navigate all of these issues. Your end of life team may include a legal advisor, financial advisor, healthcare team, Veterans service officer, Medicaid specialist, and funeral planning specialist, to name a few. With the help of these and other professionals, you will be able to create an end of life plan that protects immediate family members and paves the way for a better quality of life for both you and your loved one. For tools and resources for having “the talk,” go to www.talkofalifetime.com.