Two important family conversations to have over the holidays

Thursday, November 20, 2014


As your family gathers for the holiday season, you might share stories, look at old family photos or watch home movies.  It may seem unconventional – even taboo – but why not use this family time to have conversations about important caregiving and health care issues?  These conversations could change your family’s perspective on end-of-life care and shape future health care decisions for even your family’s youngest generations.

The Conversation Project
The Conversation Project grew out of the recognition that too many people are dying in a way they wouldn’t choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.   It is a national project aimed at helping people and families talk about their wishes for end-of-life care.  The website includes a starter kit to help families and older adults get started on their own conversation.

Create a Family Health History
Family gatherings present good opportunities to talk with close relatives about diseases and conditions that run in the family.  Creating a record of your family’s health history can be a valuable tool in helping you lower your risk for certain diseases.  The National Institute of Health’s SeniorHealth program has tools to help you get started.