Senior Services:Preparing for Important Conversations can Make all the Difference

Senior Services:Preparing for Important Conversations can Make all the Difference

As young adults, my brothers and I would always groan when our mother insisted on talking about her end-of-life plans. She made sure we all had copies of her will and medical directive, and that we all knew who was getting which treasured family heirlooms.

She started those conversations when she was only in her 50s, and each of us would say: “Mom you’re too young to talk about this. We can have these conversations later.” She would agree, but still insisted that we all knew what to expect, probably because she had seen firsthand how a lack of planning can divide a family struggling with the death of a loved one. When she passed away, we were all devastated, but we were all very grateful that her foresight allowed us to handle her affairs without conflict, and share our memories and grief together. She had made sure we had those important conversations, and we were grateful for her strength and guidance.

It is hard for families and loved ones to talk about plans for aging, but there are ways to make it easier. Knowing how to prepare for important, difficult conversations can be just as important as actually having them. Topics such as knowing when to give up car keys, needing assistance with daily activities of life, drafting important documents that will be legally binding or carrying out one’s wishes are tough conversations and having some useful tips and where to go for assistance can be invaluable.

In October Senior Services of Alexandria and the Bar Association cosponsored ‘Senior Law Day,” where attendees learned about the legal and financial tools everyone should have in place. This month’s speaker series, cosponsored by Senior Services and ACT for Alexandria, will build upon the information shared at Senior Law Day as we discuss how to “Prepare for Important Conversations." There will be panelists from AARP, Merrill Lynch Elder Care and Synergy HomeCare to provide guidance on getting these conversations started and the outcomes you can expect. The event is taking place on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 9:30 a.m. – noon, at Beth El Hebrew Congregation, 3830 Seminary Road in Alexandria. It’s free, open to the public, and light refreshments will be served. To register online, go to or call 703-836-4414, ext. 10.