Start the Conversation About Planning for Care This Holiday Season

Blog | December 9, 2019


By Michelle Ries


As part of our work with the Task Force on Serious Illness Care, we have been talking a lot about advance care planning, how it should be discussed earlier and more frequently and as a normal part of family life. Discussions about values and goals for quality of living with serious illness and preferences for care at the end of life can be less stressful and more productive if they happen before there is a serious illness diagnosis or serious injury.


During the holiday season, you may be spending more time with extended family. Experts recommend this as a great opportunity to start (or revisit) conversations about what matters most to you and your loved ones. These may include discussions about who will make medical, legal, and financial decisions; values and goals for care; and other choices that may be necessary during the course of serious illness and end of life.


Starting these conversations can be the hardest part. Below are some resources that can help you and your family get started:


AARP: Health Care Planning Starts at the Kitchen Table

This article gives concrete steps for getting started on a plan for care in advance.


AARP: Time for Talks About End-of-Life Wishes

Here AARP gives advice for opening up honest conversations about values and desires for end of life.


NC Secretary of State: Advance Health Care Directives

The website of the North Carolina Secretary of State provides a variety of resources for creating advance health care directives, including frequently asked questions, forms, and more.


The Conversation Project and The Conversation Project Conversation Starter Kit

These websites provide step-by-step guides for having these important conversations.



Got Plans gives the 101 on advance care planning, why it’s important, what needs to be done, and links to workshops and other resources. It also provides information in Spanish.