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by Nina Tiger

90 percent of us think it’s important to have conversations about healthcare decision making with our family and medical team but only 30 percent of us have actually done so.  Why? Some reasons we’ve heard are (1) I’m uncomfortable talking about it; (2) I don’t want to upset or scare my loved one; (3) No one is sick; (4) It’s not the right time; (5) I don’t want to think about death. 

But what happens if there’s an unexpected accident or illness and you need to make medical decisions for a family member? Having these conversations early and often, before a medical crisis, can help you make decisions for that person later. Most importantly, you and your loved one will have peace of mind knowing that wishes will be followed. 

How do you start?

Here are some ways to break the ice:

  • “I need your help with something.”
  • “Remember what happened when Uncle Joe was in the hospital? I don’t want that to happen to you.”
  • “Even though I’m okay right now, I’m worried what will happen if I get sick, and I want to be prepared.”

Some tips:

  • Have a practice conversation so you feel prepared.
  • It’s not just one conversation but one of many over time.
  • You don’t have to cover everything at once.  Keep talking!
  • Nothing you say is permanent.  You can always change your mind.

Download our Conversation Starter Guide to get tips and tools on how to start the conversation and what to be sure to say:  https://bit.ly/3sXzgBB

Call Nina at SAGE (908) 598-5511 to start the conversation; or send her an email to ntiger@sageeldercare.org. You can also follow Your Decisions Matter on social media:

Facebook: @yourdecisionsmatter

Instagram: your_decisions_matter

LinkedIn: Your Decisions Matter

Your Decisions Matter is a community initiative at SAGE Eldercare, funded by a grant from Atlantic Health Systems’ Chilton and Overlook Medical Centers’ Community Advisory Boards.