Beginning the Conversation

A woman pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair through an open field

Advance Care Planning Awareness Month

Conversation Starters to Help You Get Started

We plan for so many things in our lives: going to college, getting married, having children, pursuing a career, and so on. But sometimes we fail to plan for our own future. This is likely because it is difficult to think about our own mortality and our eventual need for aging services. However, when we plan for our future, we take the financial liability—and the emotional burden—off of our kids.

No matter your age, it is never a bad time to start thinking about how you want to age. Where do you want to spend your time? Do you want to retire to Florida or another coastal community? Do you want to age in place in your Cleveland home as long as possible? Do you want to move to an independent living community sooner rather than later and release the demands and expenses of owning and caring for a house?

While these things might not come up in daily conversation, it is important to talk about your plans and wishes with those closest to you. When they are in the know about your desires for your life, and your end-of-life care when that time comes, the more they can support you and reiterate your wishes if you are unable to do so yourself. This is the emphasis of advance care planning, an effort by the National Institute on Aging. April is Advance Care Planning month.

The Conversation Project, a public engagement initiative that is part of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, has created the Your Conversation Starter Guide to assist you in discussing your advance care planning and wishes with your family. The guide provides some worksheets that you can complete on your own to prepare yourself for the coming conversations. Their activities really help you think about what you want for yourself in different scenarios. Then, the guide includes conversation starters to broach the topic with your loved ones. Some of those conversation starters include:

  • “I need your help with something.”
  • “Will you help me think about my future?”
  • “I heard about the Conversation Project and answered some of their questions about things that matter to me when it comes to my care through the end of life. I’d like to talk to you about it.”

If we can support you in any way, or provide more information about our aging services, please reach out to our team.


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