Talking to Your Family and Loved Ones

Planning for the end of life is a deeply personal and important process. It involves considering your values, preferences, and making decisions that will impact you and your loved ones. Talking to family and loved ones and having open and honest conversations about end-of-life choices can provide clarity and ensure that your wishes are known and respected.

This is a journey that requires thought, reflection, and support.

Our aim is to provide you with the guidance and resources to navigate this process with compassion and understanding.

Having the conversation about end of life choices

Introducing the topic

Start by addressing the importance of end-of-life planning and the emotional aspects involved. Be sure to acknowledge that the process can be made easier with the right resources and support, whether or not that includes EOLCCA.

Initiating End-of-Life Conversations

As you contemplate end-of-life planning, it’s important to consider your values and preferences. Engaging in open and honest discussions can help you prepare for the future. Here are some questions to guide your reflections and initiate meaningful conversations:

  • What aspects of life are most important to you as you consider your end-of-life preferences?
  • What do you value most when envisioning the later stages of life?
  • Who is the person you trust to represent your wishes if you are unable to communicate?
  • When do you believe is the most suitable time to initiate these conversations? For example, during a significant family gathering or while in good health?

Continuing the Conversation

Be patient. End-of-life planning is an ongoing process and each conversation empowers individuals and their loved ones.  If your conversation has stalled, you can always come at it from new directions.

Another way to approach this difficult topic is “through the back door” by talking about whether the person (or you) would like to be buried or cremated.  If the reaction is supportive, you can continue the conversation, working your way closer toward how and where you would like the end of your life to take place.  Even if the reaction is negative, it’s good for you to know this.

This can be the first of many continuing conversations.; it may not be completed all in one sitting.  Each conversation will empower you and your loved ones.

You are preparing to live and die in a way each of you chooses.

Assistance and Support

If you are having trouble getting the conversation started, it might be helpful to write down your thoughts in a letter or have a practice conversation with a trusted friend.  Our volunteers are very good at this and can help you too.

For More

For more about having the conversation: The Conversation Project  

Contact a Volunteer

If you have questions, would like to discuss advance care planning further, or need help preparing your advance directives, please contact us.  A volunteer will follow up with you to find out how we can assist.

Feeling overwhelmed?

We are here to help.  Our highly-trained volunteers are available to explain the current California law in detail and walk you and your family through the process from beginning to end.  

Here are some ways to break the ice:

  • “I need your help with something.”
  • “Remember how (someone) in the family died– do you think it was it a “good” death or a “hard” death? Would you like yours to be different?”
  • “I was thinking about what happened to (blank), and it made me realize….”
  • “Even though I’m okay right now, I’m worried that (blank) might happen, and I want to be    prepared.”
  • “I need to think about the future.  Will you help me?”
  • “I was just answering some questions about how I want the end of my life to be.  I want you to see my answers. And I’m wondering what your answers would be.”

“I have enclosed a check to express my gratitude for the extraordinary experience I had with the support from EOLCCA.” –P.D.

End of life choices California


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