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Are Your Parents Driving You Crazy?
How to Resolve the Most Common Dilemmas with Aging Parents
by Joseph A. Ilardo, PhD, LCSW, and Carole R. Rothman, PhD

My mother won't discuss
end-of-life issues.

3. Analyze the choices and select the best solution.

GOAL: How can I get my mother to talk about end-of-life issues?
Confronting and informing your mother, and having her complete and sign the appropriate documents is the preferred solution, since it not only informs you of her wishes but has legal standing as well.

4. Conduct a Murphy's Law analysis.
Once your mother has started to talk, she may shut down again. Something someone says may frighten her or cause her to retreat. For example, she may speak with a friend who thinks your mother is making a mistake. If that happens, you will need to talk to her about her friend's motivations and reassure her of the soundness of her own choice.
Your mother may read something in a magazine or newspaper that gives her second thoughts. For example, someone may have written an article stating that advance directives are sometimes ignored by doctors. If this happens, let her air her concerns, and then find information that will provide her with a more balanced picture. You can also remind her that by not signing the forms, she increases the chances of getting care that runs contrary to her wishes.
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