Advanced Directives

Q.  “Our parents don’t want to discuss what will happen if they get sick or hurt and have to go into a hospital, nursing home, or worse.”

A. Sometimes they might not understand the importance of advanced directives, or even understand what they are. Maybe they’ve heard about them, but when they try to fill them out, it’s confusing. They may also be a little suspicious of giving someone else the power over them. Often, simply sitting down and having the discussion about these documents can ease their concerns.

Questions to ask yourself:
  • Do you understand the purposes of these two documents? Health Care Directives and Durable Power of Attorney?
  • Are you confident they haven’t filled out these two documents?
  • If you know they haven’t, do you know what their concerns are?
  • How would it help you, and them, if these documents were completed?
  • Are there things that can be done to help alleviate any concerns your parents, or the siblings might have?


Helpful Tips: Sit down and talk with your parents about your concerns. Maybe a way to begin the discussion is to decide to work on these forms together – for your parents and your own family. You could get copies, along with explanations and instructions, and work on them together.

One advantage of doing this together is that you may better understand your parent’s confusion, or concerns, deciding which choices you might want for yourself. You can find free, or low cost, Health Care Directives from your state, or ones such as Five Wishes.


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