Discussions about death and dying can be difficult and uncomfortable. However, sharing your wishes for care with loved ones is the best way to make sure your end-of-life choices are respected.
In the following one-minute video, Dying With Dignity Canada Personal Support Program Manager provides his tips on on how to break the ice. Further pointers are available in the list lower down on this page.
Keep in mind: Appointing and sharing your plan with a Substitute Decision-Maker is especially important since that person will be responsible for communicating your wishes for health and personal care in the event that you cannot speak for yourself. That said, it is important to speak with other people close to you since they will be around and may have differing opinions about what is best for you. It is important to have all family members and friends on the same page about what you want and what you value.
Here are several tips on how you can approach the conversation:
1. Use opportunities around you
- Did you recently watch a movie that addressed death? Was there a news story that relates to end-of-life care or choice? Use these opportunities to open up the conversation.
2. React to what is happening in your life
- Did a friend, relative or pet recently go through a medical treatment or trauma? These situations often open our eyes to the fact that death is inevitable for all of us and prompt us to think about what options we would choose if we found ourselves in the same situation.
- If you recently reached a milestone birthday, it might be a good time to start the conversation.
3. Refer them to the DWDC website
- This might be especially helpful if you have family members or friends in other parts of the country.
- Sending them the links to our Advance Care Planning and Patient Rights pages might help nudge them to have the conversation with you.
4. Be prepared for various reactions
- Some people may react with denial and insist that it is “silly” to be having these discussions. As difficult as it is, try to stand firm and stress that the difficult or uncomfortable conversations are often the most important.
- Depending on the people you are speaking with, you might prefer to have a few one-on-one conversations or to speak to your family all at once. Choose whatever option is most comfortable for you.
Do you have additional questions about how to Share Your Plan? Our Personal Support Program provides information, education and emotional support to Canadians who are exploring their legal end-of-life options. To reach DWDC Personal Support Program Manager Nino Sekopet, send an email to [email protected] or call him toll-free at 1-844-395-3640.