Many of us will be enjoying the next few days surrounded by family and friends. I'm thankful to have this time to spend with mine. There will be conversations about kids, sports, work, and I'm guessing in many houses in America, politics (hoping to avoid the last one at our Thanksgiving dinner).
There is another conversation that most families avoid because it is very uncomfortable, however, it is an important one: Death. Or better put, how we want to live at the end of our lives. The care we want. The care we don't want. Who is going to decide. It's Estate Planning for the heart.
There is a wonderful non-profit group, The Conversation Project, who are dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end of life care. It's always too soon to talk about it, so they've tried to help make the conversation easier.
It's very hard for many of us to envision our future self, and what our wishes would be. That's OK. Approach it by answering the questions based on who you are right now, today. Don't try to picture your future self.
90% of people say that talking with their loved ones about end-of-life care is important. But only 27% have actually done so. Studies have shown it makes a difference in the health of the caregiver, as well as those cared for; including rates of depression plummeting after a loss for families that have had The Conversation.
Check out the conversation starter kit on their website via this link.
Below are two powerful videos, the first from ABC news showing how one family handles The Conversation, and a second with an example of a letter one woman wrote to her family.
The unfortunate reality is we can't avoid death. The hard hitting news outlet, The Onion, did some groundbreaking research proving this (see chart below).
If your family chooses to keep the conversation light and only discuss politics, that's OK too. Happy Thanksgiving.