How to Respect Your Parent’s End-of-Life Wishes

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As seniors approach the end of life, they may make specific requests for how they want everything to be handled, which may include instructions for care, methods for handling their funeral, and ways to manage their estate after they pass. It can be difficult to balance your parent’s end-of-life wishes with practical concerns and other family members’ feelings on the subject. Here are a few ways to ensure you respect your aging parent’s end-of-life wishes in a sensitive and faithful manner.

Go Over the Wishes Together

It can be difficult to talk about this sensitive topic, and many seniors want to seal up instructions in an envelope and never address the matter again. However, it’s best to spend time talking about your parent’s end-of-life wishes in person. Having a frank discussion can help you clear up confusing wording and discuss which parts of the end-of-life wishes are most important to your parent. 

Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Cedar Falls home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.

Know What to Discuss

When you try to bring up end-of-life wishes with your parent, you may be surprised to find he or she has not thought about the topic much, and it’s best to ask some questions so you do not have to guess what your parent would prefer later on. Ask how your parent feels about topics like hospice care, life support, treatments, religious or cultural beliefs, and who should help him or her. Try to find out what will make your parent feel as respected and comfortable as possible.

One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care. Cedar Falls families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.

Consult with Doctors and Lawyers

Everyone deserves to die with dignity and have their wishes met. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your parent’s doctors about his or her wishes and ask if the doctors have any cultural, religious, or medical reasons to not comply with your parent’s desires. It may also be helpful to talk with a lawyer and ensure all healthcare power of attorney and other legal documents are in place so you can carry out your parent’s wishes.

Focus on Your Parent’s Needs

Keep in mind you should never try to argue with your parent or convince him or her to change the wishes for your convenience or comfort. If you don’t agree with your parent’s end-of-life wishes, try to remain empathetic and focus on carrying out his or her plans. When encountering siblings or other family members who don’t agree, try to remind them this is not about you or your relationship with them. Instead, emphasize that the whole family needs to focus on what your parent wants.

For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Cedar Falls, IA, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break. Call us at 319-260-2222 to schedule a free in-home consultation today.

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