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Resources Could Help Caregivers Talk to Seriously Ill

Middle-aged woman trying to start a conversation with her elderly father.
Broaching end-of-life issues with their senior parents can be difficult for adult children. That’s why Home Instead created the 40-70 Rule public education campaign.

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It’s no surprise that senior loved ones sometimes avoid necessary end-of-life discussions. If you’re a family caregiver, be prepared for the inevitable tough talks that may be needed with older family members. The Home Instead® network’s 40-70 Rule® program can help when it’s time to start discussing these sensitive subjects.

Q. My 83-year-old dad is seriously ill, but he won’t even broach the subject of his legal and financial affairs or his personal wishes. Any suggestions?

You’re not alone. Discussing such subjects with older adults can be very difficult. Home Instead® network research has revealed that nearly half of all Boomers would like to know more about their parents’ end-of-life wishes.

Knowing how to get personal financial and legal affairs in order is something every older adult should consider.

The “Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill” — a project by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging commissioned by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NAPCO) ” was designed for both the seriously ill individual and those caring for someone who is seriously ill.

The guide explains “Seven Key Steps” in a brief, clear way while offering additional tips and resources for readers looking for more detailed information and guidance. The guide addresses societal issues that have gained prominent media attention in recent years, such as paying for health care, managing health and personal decisions and patient rights.

J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO added, “Hospice and palliative care organizations are frequently asked for information regarding end-of-life planning and decision-making. This guide will be a tremendous resource to them as well as faith communities, caregiver organizations, aging service providers, hospitals and others who work to support people living with a serious illness.”

Broaching these subjects with their senior parents can be difficult for adult children. That’s why Home Instead created the 40-70 Rule® public education campaign. If you’re 40 and your older loved one is 70, it’s time to start discussing these sensitive subjects like end-of-life issues. No matter what the age, it’s never too late to get the conversation going.

Go to for more information. You’ll find tips on discussing sensitive subjects, a pre-planning checklist and “five wishes,” a tool by which to help older adults know that their wishes will be honored.

Last revised: December 15, 2011

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