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The Conversation: An Invaluable Holiday Gift

By Deborah Colbert, 11/29/2016

It is Giving Tuesday, that rare day in the holiday season when the emphasis is on giving instead of gifts.

It’s a yearly reminder that some of the most memorable presents you can give to your loved ones are ones that don’t need to be unwrapped.

This season, give the gift of The Conversation. Let your loved ones know what matters most to you at the end-of-life. Help erase any uncertainty about what decisions they should make if you are not able to speak for yourself. Talking about end-of-life wishes can bring you closer to your family and friends.

Here are five suggestions for gifts without size, shape or measure that will help you have The Conversation with those you love.

Your time

The holidays aren’t the only time when people are over scheduled. Demands of work, school and home fill many people’s calendars to the brim, making free time spent with loved ones a luxury many think they can’t afford. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Plan an outing, a meal or even just some quiet space to have The Conversation, free of digital devices and other distractions. When you prioritize spending quality time with a loved one, you are showing them how important they are to you.

Your words

In this age of instant messaging, texting and tweeting, speed and conciseness of communication are given priority over quality and originality. Take a few minutes to express what matters most to you on a card or in a letter or using our Conversation Starter Kit. Your written words are a window into who you are and what is important to you. Having your ideas on paper gives them a permanence that leaves less room for misinterpretation and disagreement about your unique wishes for care at the end of life.

Your support

Everyone goes through hard times in their lives. Feeling alone can make a tough situation even more difficult to bear. When someone you love is in pain, offer your support. It can take whatever form you feel is best, whether it be financial, physical, or emotional. Even just asking your loved one how they are and really listening to the answer can be powerful and help begin a broader conversation about what matters most to them.

Your wisdom

During a lifetime, people gain an amazing amount of knowledge about thousands of different subjects, yet few would call themselves an expert in anything. When expressing your wishes for end-of-life care, share what you know. Talk about an experience that changed your life for the better. Divulge the secrets behind a favorite family recipe. Demonstrate the best technique for changing a flat tire. And don’t forget to ask your loved ones what they can teach you. The answers may both surprise and enrich you.

Your example

Embodying your guiding principles and striving towards your goals sets an example for your loved ones to follow. By sharing your wishes for end-of-life care, you’ll make it easier for your loved ones to do the same. It’s okay if you can’t cover everything in one conversation – this is meant to be an evolving discussion.

How will you give the gift of The Conversation this holiday season?  Let us know in the comments below.

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