When faced with our own death or the death of a loved one, many of us struggle to find the words we need to express our thoughts and questions. Talking about our personal desires for care and support at the end of life can be difficult, and lots of people fear that they’ll upset their family and friends if they bring it up – even if they themselves feel ready to have a conversation.
However, speaking about your hopes and preferences in detail is important, as it means that those around you can help to make sure your wishes are honoured. Discussions about end of life care can also bring a sense of peace and relief to those involved and can help you to maintain control of what is important.
Here are four tips to help start a conversation.
Focus on what, why, where and how
If you find it hard to talk about what you would like to happen with your end of life care, begin with the practical aspects. Think about things like where you want to be, what support you feel you might need, who you might want around you and how you’d like to manage your day to day life.
Take your time
Thinking and talking about end of life care in advance will mean that your friends and relatives are aware of your wishes, and can therefore work with you and others to ensure that these are met. This can be a reassuring, affirming and positive action. You may also find that more options open up to you when you take the time to consider and research what you want.
Look out for inspiration
Look out for conversation prompts that come up naturally, for example something in a book or a film that resonates with your situation, or a story or anecdote you overhear from a friend. Examples can make it easier to understand and explain what you mean.
Choose a close confidant
If it feels overwhelming to tell everybody all at once, pick one person who you can trust and have an initial conversation just with them. They may then be able to help you relay everything to your other loved ones.
If you’d like to find out more about what options are available for end of life care, there are a range of resources available to view at www.stchristophers.org.uk/planning-end-of-life-care/.
If you’d like any assistance with joining any of St Christopher’s online activities or finding information on our website, please contact email@example.com