All lives come to an end. There is perhaps nothing harder to admit, but this is a universal truth. For most, having a discussion about end-of-life care with one’s parents is a process that is at once deeply emotional and incredibly frustrating. However, there are some things you can do to make these discussions easier on both you and your parents. Below are just a few tips that can help you to better make it through these conversations.

Be Forthright

One of the most important keys to having a good conversation about end-of-life issues with your parents is to be straightforward. This isn’t something that you need to trick them into, nor is it something about which you should be vague. Instead, take the time to sit down with your parents and tell them exactly what you want to talk about and why. This will be a key step in opening a good, working dialog.

Give Them Room

While you may be having this conversation because of your own concerns, it’s vital that you let your parents steer as much of the conversation as possible. You might have to force them into the talk itself, but once you are there you should be a helper rather than a director. Make sure that your parents are the ones making the decisions and that they don’t feel forced into anything. If they feel like they’re being railroaded, you may find that your conversations will eventually become less productive.

Consult a Lawyer

This conversation should eventually involve more than just you and your parents. At some point, you are going to need to bring in an experienced estate planning attorney to assure that you’re going through the process the right way. Not only can this attorney help to make your parents’ wishes official, they can help them to do so in a way that best fits their needs. They’ll also help make the process easier on you. Having a lawyer to work with means that you have fewer legal hoops to jump through and more time to spend with your parents. Additionally, you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that everything is taken care of for when the time comes.

Be Understanding

Finally, try to understand that you’re talking about more than just a hypothetical. While your own end-of-life preparations may be a long time away, your parents are facing theirs here and now. This conversation will make your parents confront their own mortality, which can be very tough for many people. Be prepared for the conversations to start and stop over time. You may need to give them the time and space to think before continuing your discussion. The most important thing you can do is to be understanding while you try to ensure that all of the important work gets done.

These conversations are vital for all involved. Make sure that you explain that you’re having these conversations because you don’t want your parents to have to worry later. If you can establish a dialog now, you can ensure that your parents’ wishes are followed when you cannot ask them for advice.

Author's Bio: 

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.