Talk to Your Aging Parents About Death

It’s often difficult to face that as our parents age - those who took care of us - may need help with decision-making and caring for themselves.

Talking with aging parents about legal, financial, and long-term care issues can be uncomfortable. Passare recommends several ways to help you start a dialogue about end of life planning with your parents.

Start Early

While your parents are in good health, find an opportunity to begin talking about end of life issues. Sometimes, news of a friend or loved one’s illness or passing can provide an opening. It is much more difficult to address challenging issues after your parents become ill or are unable to make their own decisions.

Explain Your Purpose

Tell your parents that you love them, are concerned for them, and that you want to offer support as they age. This will help them be more receptive to your concerns.

Provide Information

You can serve as an important resource to help your parents become aware of services and options available to them, like benefits to help pay for prescription drugs, health care, or utilities. Go to: for information on assistance for people over age 55.

Enable Communications

Start by offering choices, rather than advice. Ask your parents about their needs and wishes. Listen. Don’t be afraid of silence. Try to ask open-ended questions that foster discussion.

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