Let’s talk: how can we talk to our parents about their future health?

For those of us who still have our parents with us, it’s hard to shake the bittersweet feeling that our remaining time with them is limited. While it can encourage us to make the most of that time, it also raises some difficult questions for the future.

Today we’d like to ask the Starts at 60 community: have you actually spoken with your parents or loved ones about their medical wishes (how far they would want to go), should they ever be unable to speak for themselves? And what can we do to make this difficult conversation easier?

We spoke to Dr. Charlie Corke, founder of MyValues, about how we can help break down those barriers and engage in the important discussion.

His biggest piece of advice: “don’t be scared to talk”.

“Most people have already thought about their end, even if they don’t bring it up.”.

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Dr. Corke says the most important thing to establish is how far they would like to push things technologically before they would rather permit a natural death.

This is the most personal of topics, and can only come from a warm, honest and open discussion. But even if you can comfortably broach the subject, it’s hardly something most of us would want to bring up out of the blue.

One way to start the discussion is to make sure your parents know about the tools available to them. MyValues is a free online service that will guide your loved ones (or yourself) step-by-step through the process of outlining their wishes when it comes to quality of life vs. a dignified end.

By working through this process together, this service can make the discussion just that little bit easier, creating better peace of mind for both you and your parents or loved ones.

Have you spoken seriously with your parents about their health? What would you suggest to make the conversation easier?