Is it morbid or wrong to start a conversation about end-of-life wishes with my family right now?


A: NO! Now is a GREAT time to talk about end-of-life wishes with your inner circle. Talking about death can feel uncomfortable, but there are several benefits to doing this early and often.

First, it’s really easy to misunderstand your family members’ wishes without a specific conversation. Opportunities to have conversations are better suited before death is imminent. Waiting until a family member is in the hospital or unable to communicate due to sedation or a breathing tube is often too late.

Second, conversations about end-of-life can highlight individual priorities and life goals. Talking about what is important at end-of-life could refocus how time and energy is spent while living life.

Third, you don’t need to be a medical professional to start an advance care planning conversation. Conversations about what matters to you can and should start in your home and be shared with your medical providers. Medical professionals can help answer questions about specific disease courses and options.

We encourage you to discuss this sometimes taboo topic with your support network. You may be surprised by what you learn. This opinion piece provides the experience of one family.

Toolkit on starting a conversation about death (and life) from The Conversation Project

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