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Talking to Your Aging Parents About Death


As parents age, and their adult children get close to entering the caretaker stage, it's important to have certain crucial conversations. One topic, which is very difficult for most people to discuss, is what will happen when the parents die. While it's not a fun subject to talk about, it is necessary for adult children to understand their parents' final wishes, along with the parents' detailed medical and financial information.

"Most people choose to prepare for important decisions in life, because it makes them feel relieved knowing it was an informed choice," said John Adolf, Director of Adolf Funeral Services. "Preparing for death should not be different. What I've learned from my discussions with people who chose to make final arrangements for themselves or for other loved ones in advance, is that they find great comfort knowing these very important details have been taken care of."

The Funeral and Memorial Information Council has created a wonderful program, titled "Have the Talk of a Lifetime". "This program provides guidelines for people to have important conversations about the things that matter most to them, and about how a person’s life story can be remembered and honored in a meaningful way," added Adolf. "As a member of the National Funeral Directors Association, I am proud to say we support "Have the Talk of a Lifetime", because it can help people create a wonderful family legacy."

A local Office on Aging, or a professional Gerontologist, can also help guide families through some of the necessary preparations. A professional counselor can assist families with managing difficult relationships and unresolved conflicts. If possible, the best time to have these crucial conversations is when everyone is healthy. All adult children should be included, so everyone understands the expectations and final decisions. For more information about talking with an aging parent about death, please contact:

Adolf Funeral Home & Cremation Services

John R. Adolf, Director

7000 South Madison Street

Willowbrook, IL 60527


2921 South Harlem Avenue

Berwyn, IL 60402