Suppose your loved one was in a coma or unable to speak. If you had to make healthcare decisions for him or her, would you know what to say? Making the choices that are right for your relative requires knowing his or her preferences in advance. But starting the conversation can feel awkward.
Use a soft approach. Make it about your need to know versus their being frail. Choose a place that is comfortable and quiet. And allow plenty of time. Some possible starters:
- "Dad, you're doing great now. But you know me, I like to be prepared. I want to be able to speak your mind if you can't."
- "Mom, my friend just went through a horrible time having to guess what her mom would like. It's important for me to know so I'm not left guessing."