Talking To Others

How do I start a conversation?

The key word is “start” — you want to start a conversation.

Maybe you won’t finish it the first, second, or even third time around. Starting to talk with others about these difficult topics will make future discussions easier.

Approach the conversation as a chance to get your feelings out, to be heard, and to share your ideas, thoughts, and plans.

Don’t assume that others don’t want to have the conversation. They may be relieved or happy if you bring up the topic! Go ahead and open that door.

What should I say?

It is okay if you are not sure exactly what to say. There is no magic recipe. Each conversation is going to be different.

The key thing is to start the conversation. Remember the strength of “I” statements – tell people what you think, what you feel, and what you want.

What if they won’t listen?

If the people you want to talk to don’t want to talk, consider stopping the conversation for the moment. Let them know it is important to you to talk about your future health plans. Plan a time and place to have the conversation.

Conversation Starters

  1. “I went through this website (Plan Your Lifespan) and have been answering some questions about planning for my future health care. I wanted to share my answers with you to see if you have any thoughts.”
  2. “I know it is hard to think about me or Mom getting Alzheimer's, but it is important to me that we start to talk about the health care needs we might have in the future.”
  3. “I was thinking about what happened with (Aunt Martha) and it made me think that I want to be prepared in case that happens to me.”
  4. “I know right now, I'm doing okay… but there's always a chance something could happen and it's scary. I'd like to talk about what I may need in the future so we're both prepared.”

Who should I talk to?

Talk with people who you trust to make decisions if you can’t. They may be family members or friends. Although it is always important to talk to your spouse or partner, you may need to include more people. Think about anyone else who may be asked to make decisions for you so they also know your goals and plans.

You might want to get input from your health care providers.

Who should I talk to?

Melvin talks about how he and his wife approach conversations with their children about their plans.

A senior on a hike with his adult son

The relationship that I have with my children, I have two girls and one boy. My wife Catherine and I make it an open book to our children that we let them know what’s going on in our lives, what we’re doing, and what we’re planning to do. And a lot of times, when we talk to our daughters, they will say, “Mom, Dad, hey I don’t think that’s a good idea”.

Hey, let’s face it; they took advice from us from the time that they were born up until the time they left the house. So now, from time to time we have to revert and we take advice from them and we do some of the things that they suggest we do. Do I do each and every thing? No, like they didn’t do each and every thing I told them.