Let’s talk: how can we talk to our parents about their future health? 7

The Tough Stuff


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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.”.

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?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. My mum was hard to talk to about her health in the last years of her life. But I pulled the wild card and said the doctor said she had to..and she did but without that illusion doctor I wouldn’t have stood a chance to help her. Very independent and feisty lady.

  2. Talk to parents about their health issues as they occur. Support them with the little things as they emerge and as they grow into bigger things. Be discrete, be kind, be loving. You will most likely have those same problems soon enough.

  3. My children have always been aware of My health problems. And I speak to my grandsons the same way. I make them aware that death and aging are a natural part of life. Too much was hidden from me or minor things dramatised way out of proportion

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