Conversations- How To Start the Difficult Ones

One of the most difficult conversations we will ever need to have in our lives is the one about ageing, death and dying. And it’s no different for us who are ageing and dying as for us who are watching this happen to those we love most.

Here are some guidelines to make these conversations go a little more smoothly.

  1. There’s no other way to start this kind of conversation than to simply ask your family to be part of it. Be respectful of the rights of the ageing person to ultimately make their own decisions about their future.
  2. Come together at a time when you are all able to discuss the topic in a quiet and calm way with care and empathy. Be prepared to be fully present and allow the person at the centre of the conversation to set the direction the conversation will take.
  3. Don’t deny the reality of ageing, death and dying.
  4. Be clear about what the agenda will be for the conversation and do whatever research is needed to be able to contribute something of value to the conversation.
  5. Be open to discussing all the possible options both in the immediate future as well as in the longer term
  6. Agree that there may be more than one good solution in addressing the future needs of the ageing or dying person.
  7. Don’t expect that you will have all the answers after one meeting. It may take several meetings over many months or years so take some timeout between these conversations.

Make sure to intersperse these conversations with some fun. Make the most of every precious moment you have with each other.