Starting a conversation with loved ones about your end-of-life wishes can be challenging and many people choose to avoid the topic altogether. But as we will explain in this post, discussing your hopes and concerns for end-of-life care with your loved ones is an important conversation to have.
Here are a few reasons why it is important to discuss end-of-life wishes with family members.
Increases the chances that a person’s wishes will be followed
When someone openly discusses their wishes, there is a better chance that those wishes will be followed. However, saying them aloud may not be enough. Family members and loved ones may go against a person’s wishes if they do not appear in a written document such as a will or health care directive. For example, end-of-life wishes can be included in advance medical directives where a person can indicate things like who will make their health care decisions and if they would like to make an anatomical gift or organ donation.
Eliminates guesswork and prevents disagreement
When important end-of-life decisions need to be made, families can be left trying to guess what their loved one's wishes are if they are never discussed. These types of decisions can be emotional for everyone involved and family members may disagree about what they think their loved one wants. In addition, they may become depressed or even feel guilty later on wondering if they adhered to the person’s wishes. By having the conversation with family members early on, a person can eliminate guesswork and prevent future disagreements among loved ones when it comes to making end-of-life decisions.
Beginning the conversation can be the hardest part. American author Neale Donald Walsch once said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” By discussing your wishes openly, you can empower your loved ones and let them know that they don’t have to make all of the important decisions on their own.