It is always difficult to talk about death, especially when it involves the loved one you are caring for.  The subject is typically avoided but we need to communicate with our loved ones to understand their final wishes.

Be respectful and ask permission to discuss this topic.  As a caregiver, it is your responsibility to ensure your loved one’s wishes are addressed. Do not rush the conversation. Your loved one will talk about it when ready, so do not push.  It is not possible to predict when someone will feel comfortable discussing death, so it is important to be patient.

Use language everyone is comfortable using.  Instead of saying "death," try using terms such as "final wishes" or "end of life."  Talk naturally about what things will be like when the individual is no longer present and ask if there are any special wishes.  Try to maintain a warm, caring manner and use information or things that will lessen your loved one’s fearMake an effort to hear and understand what your loved one is saying.  Listen for the wants and needs that your loved one expressed.  There may be a special memory that your loved one wants to communicate or wants to be part of in their wishes.  Show empathy and respect by verbally acknowledging your loved one’s desires.  Discussing end-of-life decisions can help alleviate fears and strengthen emotional bonds.