What You Need to Know About End-of-Life Planning for Your Parent

It’s a conversation no one wants to have.

Discussing end-of-life planning and related issues is often awkward at best. It can be easier to avoid the entire subject.

But doing so means that you’re unprepared in case the unexpected happens.

End-of-life-planning for a parent can be especially challenging when you’re an only child. It often involves asking tough questions and having difficult conversations.

However, these discussions are vital to ensure that your parent’s wishes are honored, particularly when deciding to become a part of an assisted living community.

But where do you begin? We can help with this guideline.

How to Approach the Subject of End-of-Life Planning to a Parent

Quite simply, this is a topic that brings strong feelings and emotions that can impact the very core of your being.

Open communication is important to have now instead of waiting for a crisis to occur.

We’ve got some tips on how to start the conversation about end-of-life planning for a parent, especially if you’re an only child.

Tips for Discussing End-of-Life Planning

  • Ask your parent if they already have a plan in place. It’s also a good idea to learn where they keep important documents. Be sure you are aware of their wishes if a plan has been completed.
  • Emphasize that you want your parent to maintain independence for as long as possible. This is one reason assisted living is such a good option. We’re able to provide independence while, at the same time, be ready to assist if needed. We can also provide easy access to medical care.
  • Cite specific examples. Maybe you know of someone who had a living will, and it made it so much easier for their children to know what to do. By providing concrete examples, you can help your parent understand the impact end-of-life planning has on the entire family.
  • Feel free to bring in a third-party mediator. This may be a member of the clergy or even an attorney who specializes in end-of-life documentation.
  • Do not overwhelm them with questions. In certain cases, it may be best to ask a few questions at a time, saving the others for later. This also depends upon your parent’s health and how well they are able to process information.
  • Prepare them in advance. Don’t simply provide all the information as a surprise. Prepare them in advance by perhaps dropping hints along the way before you have a serious, sit-down discussion. This can not only help them prepare their thoughts, but it can also keep your parent from feeling “blindsided.”
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. Remember to listen. Don’t do all the talking. Your parent has special concerns and fears and needs your empathy. Knowing that they are heard will go a long way toward helping you both achieve your goals.
  • Don’t do it alone. There are several resources to help you, from doctors, clergy and attorneys to hospice and palliative care organizations. You may also find the website Begin the Conversation a good resource.

Important End-of-Life Planning Documents

End-of-Life planning involves a lot of documentation, but we’ll focus on two of the most vital:

  • A will
  • Durable power of attorney
  • Healthcare power of attorney
  • A living will (also called an advance directive)

While most people are familiar with a will, we’ll take a look at some of the other documents.

Durable power of attorney: This allows your parent to appoint someone to manage their finances and personal affairs in case, at some point, they are unable to do so.

Durable health care power of attorney: This document enables someone to make health care decisions for you if you’re unable to make them yourself.

Living will or advanced directive: This document expresses the desire for certain types of end-of-life medical care you would like to have if you’re unable to communicate these desires to others.

For example, this may include:

  • The pain relief options you want to have available
  • The life-sustaining options, such as CPR, ventilators or feeding tubes, you want
  • The desire to have—or not have—extensive life-support
  • The decision to be an organ donor

Coastal Pointe Provides Your Parent With the Independence They Desire with the Help They Need

Located near the quaint fishing village of Shallotte, NC, we are one of Brunswick County’s newest assisted living communities. Complete with a “Main Street” décor that makes you feel like home, we want you to know that you don’t have a room—you have an address.

In addition, our flat-free pricing means you won’t be “nickel and dimed” for little extras like you would be at other assisted living communities.

Ready to get started? Contact us today for a virtual tour. But hurry! Our spaces fill quickly.