Resistance of older generation

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Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
Joined: 15/04/2011 - 6:34pm
Resistance of older generation

My father and my mother-in-law are both in their mid-80s and firmly believe there is no need to talk about death or dying. The other day my father said to me: "You get ill, your body shuts down, you die, you have a funeral. What else is there to talk about?" My mother-in-law, meanwhile, says death should never be discussed - she feels it's almost impolite - and uses euphemisms such as 'Going to sleep in God's garden'. Should I try to engage them on the subject and, with my father particularly, attempt to discuss what he wants/hopes to happen at the end of his life, or should I leave well alone and accept this is a generational thing which I have no right to attempt to change?

Last seen: 7 years 11 months ago
Joined: 14/05/2011 - 10:32am
Resistance of older generation

This is a very common scenario, due to older people not wanting to make their loved ones anxious or upset. I think you have every right to get them to talk about their end of life now, before it's too late. It won't be easy, but try getting them to consider having their own personal 'end of life plan'. Rather as mums-to-be are encouraged to have a birth plan, so they feel more in control of the delivery of a new life into this world, so should those soon to leave it be more in control of this process.
There is a end of life plan template within the Lifebox section of My Last Song (.com) which allows the older person (or terminally ill), their loved ones and their doctor to consider the medical, physical, emotional and spiritual issues so that when the time comes, the end of life experience is as comfortable and comforting as possible for all concerned.
I hope this is of some help.

Cathy's picture
Last seen: 8 years 11 months ago
Joined: 28/06/2011 - 10:12am
It all depends on the people

It all depends on the people involved. It's not wise to press people to talk on things they have a huge resistance to, and death is something not many are yet prepared to discuss openly. Do YOU need to talk about it with them? That might be a way in, to express your desire to be open, to explore your feelings. That way they would be doing it to help you, rather than feel pressured to do something which was out of character. But that might not work either. Ulitimately we don't have the right to insist anyone does something just because we consider it a good idea, healthy or whatever.

Last seen: 9 years 1 week ago
Joined: 28/06/2011 - 11:45am
Much like the last post, I’m

Much like the last post, I’m left with a sense that it is your anxieties around death and dying that need to be explored, and not necessarily with your father and mother-in-law, particularly if they do not want to. All you can do is let them know that your door to that discussion is open, if and when they are ready to talk about it. Letting them know that you respect their views is more likely to result in a conversation than pressure. Perhaps getting the support you need through another avenue may be the best way forward.

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