Having End of Life Conversations

This is part of Cake’s collection of articles on important conversations. Create your free Cake profile today to discover, document, and share your end-of-life wishes.

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We know it can be difficult, or even scary, but talking about your wishes surrounding your end-of-life healthcare options is a gift to your family and loved ones.

Having your doctor and those who are important to you understand your wishes for end-of-life care can significantly improve the outcome and ease transition for all people involved, as well as helping you value and live more fully in the present.

Cake helps people make their own end-of-life plans. Try our personalized planning checklist to help you organize and complete an end-of-life-plan for yourself or your loved one. It doesn’t have to take long, and it’s not as hard as you think. Create your free Cake plan.

What are end-of-life conversations?

End-of-life conversations inform your healthcare provider, spiritual leader, family members, friends and other important people in your life about the care you want to receive (and the care you don't want to receive) if you are nearing the end of life. This may be due to a serious medical emergency, or approaching end of life in advanced age. Having a conversation about these preferences is important to make sure everyone understands your decisions. 

A good end-of-life conversation should also cover your preferences for your funeral, what should be done with your body, how you would like to be remembered, and helpful information on how to tie up all your loose ends. By sharing how you want to be treated in the face of death, you can ease the transition for the people you love someday. This can allow them to be present for you during an emotional time and have an easier time grieving after you are gone.

Having end-of-life discussions with your family

Sharing how you want to experience death can result in a better transition for you and those you love someday. While having the conversation about your preferences is important, it's critical to express these wishes in an end-of-life plan they can reference when the time comes. This will protect your choices in case you can no longer communicate those desires.

Only you can express your preferences by sharing how you want to be treated at the end of your life and how you want your friends and family to remember you after you pass. By taking the initiative and talking about your desires surrounding death, you can lighten the burden your family might endure if they need to make those decisions for you.

When to have end-of-life conversations with your parents

While adults of all ages should be having these conversations, many people have a particularly hard time bringing up this topic to their aging parents. Our blog post “Conversation Guide: How To Encourage Your Parents & Loved Ones to Do End-of-Life Planning” has end-of-life conversation resources that can help you initiate these talks with your family and others you care about.

We recommend having these conversations early on when people are healthy and have a clear mind. It is very difficult to discuss these matters when a crisis arises and emotions run high.

Give your family the gift they didn’t know they needed, and talk to them about end-of-life plans. Cake can help you and your loved ones create comprehensive end-of-life plans. Cake is always free, so sign up today to make sure you are prepared for tomorrow. Create your free Cake plan.