Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Geriatrics and Extended Care

Quick Links
Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Talking with Loved Ones

Talking with loved ones

Often, people avoid having a talk about getting sick, getting older and dying. Talking about these topics can be hard. We worry about making our loved ones feel uneasy. That does not change how important it is to have these conversations. Here are some tips and resources that can help you get the conversation started.


  • Use a conversation starter – from a TV show, movie, book or article
  • Piggyback on a life event – like a doctor’s visit, memorial service, death of a friend or loved one
  • Share your wishes before you ask someone about their wishes


Visit PREPARE, an interactive online program that can help you identify what is important to you in life. It also covers how to make medical decisions for yourself and others, how to talk with your health care providers and loved ones and how to get the medical care that is right for you.

There is a Values Worksheet on the second page of this two-page handout about Advance Care Planning, which covers many issues you may want to discuss with your loved ones as well as your Health Care Agent.

You can also talk with your social worker if you need help starting a conversation with loved ones about your wishes or completing the Advance Directive.