The Toughest Conversation You’ll Ever Have

It’s the topic none of us want to think about, but talking with your children and loved ones about your end-of-life wishes can be one of the more important conversations.

In some families, it’s easier to talk about sex than it is to talk about money, while in other families it’s the opposite. But few families are prepared to talk about death. Yet, according to, The Oakland Post in its article, “How to Have a Conversation About the End of Your Life,” this is a beneficial conversation for all families.

According to the California Healthcare Foundation, 90% of Americans say that talking to loved ones about end-of-life care is important, but just 27% have actually done this.

Fewer than 30% have completed an Advance Healthcare Directive, which documents a person’s choice of their healthcare representative and specifies the end of life care they wish to receive.

Begin the life care planning conversation early. As soon as a teen gets a driver’s license, parents should ask who he would trust to make his decisions, if for some reason–like being injured in a car accident–the teen couldn’t speak for himself.

This life care planning conversation should continue throughout a lifetime, because answers can change as people age. Injury and disease can occur at any time—young or old—so it’s best to be prepared. Families should discuss the details of what it means to be placed on life-sustaining treatment, before being faced with that reality.

Because there are so many medical options now available, people need to understand the consequences of their decisions.

Before you have the conversation, take some time to reflect on what you would like to happen, if you were unable to communicate your wishes. Who in the family would you want to make the hard decision, for instance, of removing life-supporting medical equipment? What would you consider a “good death” to be? Talking with family members about this issue before a crisis hits, will make it easier for those you love to make the necessary and hard decisions that need to be made.

Reference: Oakland Post (October 20, 2017) “How to Have a Conversation About the End of Your Life”