It can be difficult to bring up the subject of death, but it is one of the most important conversations you can have with your loved ones, especially if you don't wish to burden them with difficult decisions regarding your end-of-life care.

Studies show that it's better to have this discussion when you are healthy, without the pressure and stress of a serious illness to deal with. Studies also show that 56% of people have not expressed their end-of-life wishes to loved ones.

One thing is certain: death is something that everyone will experience. The sooner you have the conversation about your hopes and expectations during the final days, the greater the chance they will be respected and followed.

We feel it is so important to help people broach this difficult conversation that we have collected some resources that may make the subject less scary, and might help you talk about it in a useful way. Feel free to let us know about resources that were helpful to you! 

Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Ellen Goodman talks about the importance of the end-of-life conversation:

If you want to take the next step of making your wishes official, visit our Palliative Care Tookit and Advance Care Directives for help with the forms.

The subject is receiving increasing attention in the media. Two timely articles are linked below.

Atul Gawande has written a Huffington Post article in response to Brittany Maynard’s death from assisted suicide: Being Mortal: Why We Need to Start Talking about Death Again

In another Huffington Post article Karen M. Wyatt, author of What Really Matters: 7 Lessons for Living from the Stories of the Dying, provides tips for talking with loved ones about the end of life.