How to talk to your elder parents about advance directives

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Advance directives are legal documents allowing individuals to express their healthcare wishes in advance, helping ensure their preferences are honored in case they cannot communicate their choices themselves.

These directives typically include a living will and a healthcare power of attorney. Addressing this topic with your elderly parents is vital to help ensure their desires are respected and their care aligns with their values. If you’re undecided about how to start this conversation, continue reading for helpful tips.

Pick your moment

Establishing trust with your parents is crucial before initiating a meaningful conversation about advance directives. Begin by selecting a comfortable and relaxed environment where your parents feel comfortable.

What’s more, avoid discussing advance directives during stressful or emotionally charged moments. Instead, choose a time when everyone is calm and open to having a thoughtful conversation. It would be best to approach the discussion with empathy and an open mind.

Most importantly, acknowledge that your parents have the right to decide about their healthcare. This is the surefire way to help respect their autonomy and emphasize that their wishes will be honored, even if they differ from yours.

Structuring the conversation

When discussing advance directives, it’s also essential to approach the conversation with a clear structure. Begin the conversation by explaining the purpose of discussing advance directives. Emphasize that it’s not about morbidity but rather a proactive approach to help ensure their desires are respected in the future.

Also, provide a clear definition of advance directives, including the healthcare power of attorney. Explain how these documents will empower them to make healthcare decisions when they cannot do so themselves.

Discussing advance directives with your elder parents may initially seem challenging, but it can become a constructive and empowering conversation with the right approach. Remember to approach the discussion empathetically, actively listen to their concerns and provide accurate information and support.