As we age, we must take steps to prepare for our later years — and to avoid conflicts with family. One of these steps is creating a healthcare directive specifying the kind of care we want. Next steps will include identifying who should make healthcare and financial decisions if we can’t do so ourselves.

Failing to put these steps into place is a recipe for conflict when our health unexpectedly declines and well-meaning family members make decisions that are contrary to our desires. Even if you have documents outlining your wishes, if you haven’t discussed the content of those documents and your plans with the people you designated to help, conflict will inevitably occur.

Take time now to think about who you want to help you in the coming years, prepare the documents that outline your plans, and engage in a conversation with the family and friends you’ve designated to assist. If that conversation is difficult, consider using the services of The Mediation Center of the Pacific’s Kupuna Pono program. Kupuna Pono offers facilitation and mediation to help families engage in sensitive conversations to reach agreements on how to work together and support the desires of our kūpuna.

Planning and talking today can prevent conflict and heartache in the future.

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