The Birds and the Bees

by Jill Francis on June 20th, 2013

Talking to your parents about end-of-life planning is kind of like talking to your children about "the birds and the bees:  difficult but necessary. And just like the Facts of Life conversation, many people avoid it, thinking it will "just work out".  But if we fail to give our children facts, and fail to teach them to protect themselves, we can end up with an unexpected surprise.  The same holds true for end-of-life issues.

Let me rephrase... no good parent would dream of watching their child drink alcohol to the point of inebriation and hand them the car keys; yet we allow our parents to remain in homes that are unsafe or with cognitive levels that are unsafe (i.e. leaving the water running, forgetting to turn off the stove or oven, getting lost on the way to/from familiar places).  In essence, we're allowing them to drive drunk.  "Yeah, but it's different", you say, "it's our parents, how do we tell them what to do?  They won't listen, they'll never leave their home".

You're right, it's hard, so start by setting a good example.  Mention that you and your spouse are having conversations about what your future will look like, then ask your parents for their opinion.  Tell them you're going to put your estate into a Trust and ask if they know what that is.  Casually mention that you're learning about Advance Medial Directives and ask if they know what those are.  Investigate The Five Wishes and offer to review it with them.  Gently, little by little, bring up the subject and listen to their answers.

Gently, little by little, have conversations about end-of-life planning; it's as important as conversations about the birds and the bees...and so is the protection it offers.

Posted in Helpful Hints    Tagged with end-of-life plainning, Five wishes, Advance Medical Directive, moving, conversation, Trust, Last will and testament, estate planning


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