Your parents are growing older. While it can be uncomfortable to talk about end-of-life situations, you know that it’s important to do in time. What are some important questions to ask?

First, do you know what type of life support and end-of-life care your parents would prefer? Some people want all possible medical treatments, hoping for a recovery. Others never want to be put on life support, not wanting to drag things out and rack up medical costs. Every situation is different and people can choose whatever is best for them, but it’s important for you to know what your parents desire.

Similarly, are you aware of what health care preferences your parents have, even before life support or other drastic measures? What types of treatments and medications are fine to use? Are there any you should never consider? Where would this care be provided?

Finally, have you talked about essential documents and can you locate them? These could include things like a life insurance policy, a will or investment documents. In your case, it may also include a health care power of attorney and a financial power of attorney.

Experts note that the sooner you and your parents can have these conversations, the better. Dementia and other such disorders can make it nearly impossible to have the conversation later. You may end up having to make guesses and figure everything out on your own. It’s far better to talk about it, even if it’s awkward, while you still can. This way, you and your parents understand all of your legal obligations and rights.

Source: Next Avenue, “When Should You Get Power of Attorney For a Parent?,” Eileen Beal, accessed April 21, 2017