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For a young, healthy person, these talks are likely the farthest thing from their mind. Instead, these important discussions often take place in the throes of an unexpected health crisis when it’s even more difficult.
Why do we need to talk about it? According to the organization Begin the Conversation , it’s best to start end-of-life discussions early — as young 18. The earlier your wishes are known, the better.
Sure, it’s normal to steer clear of talk about death and dying. The topics are scary. Nearly everyone hopes the end of their life is peaceful. We want to feel comforted, mentally and physically, by family, friends and health professionals.
While that scenario may sound ideal, the reality can be quite different if care and attention hasn’t been given to decisions in advance. Planning is key. Make your wishes are known early, it helps make the end of life more dignified, peaceful and in sync with your wishes.
Experts at Begin the Conversation say there are six steps to getting it right:
Need more inspiration before tackling the big conversation? Check out Compassion & Choices . This national nonprofit group works to improve care and expand end-of-life choices. They are helping change attitudes, practices and policies so everyone can access information and options to give people more control and comfort in their final days.
Originally published 5/26/2016; Revised 2021, 2023
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