The Conversation We All Avoid

It's critical to have these family conversations.
It’s critical to have these family conversations.

You know the one I’m talking about–end-of-life planning. At some point, it’s a conversation we all need to have with our loved ones, and it’s better sooner than later.

To explore this important topic, this week I’m featuring Part 1 of a guest blog from fellow entrepreneur and friend, Lynn Lambrecht. Lynn founded The Living Planner to provide resources for people to organize, plan, locate, record and communicate everything influencing their day-to-day lives to help with life’s transitions.

Here’s Lynn:

Today’s blog comes to you early in the new year with a topic that fascinates me – Communication.  Particularly, communication about planning health care directives.

The topic of communication can be defined in many ways.  Merriam Webster defines communication as:
• the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else
• a message that is given to someone : a letter, telephone call, etc.

Communication, Not So Simple
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?  On the surface, it is simple.  We exchange information to express ideas, thoughts, feelings to someone or we deliver a message to another.

When beginning research on the topic of speaking with loved ones about planning health care directives and sharing wishes about how they envision the quality of their lives, it was sobering to learn how infrequently communication occurred between loved ones.  It was inspiring to learn of sources who actively provide resources to encourage communication.  It may be helpful to know about.

Resources to Help with Those “Heart-to-Heart” Talks:
1) The Coda Alliance in the San Francisco Bay Area is a non-profit organization.
CODA Alliance and global partner organizations are making inroads regarding end-of-life conversations – now recognized as a necessity. CODA Alliance develops tools to help families introduce these conversations in a more comfortable way; one that also encourages people to have conversations before loved ones become ill. In fact, understanding the dire need for end-of-life conversations, major medical centers have begun to provide classes to help their teams hold the conversations with patients. And, many family and senior centers now offer classes to help families deal with the issues. Other services, including Fiduciaries and estate planners, are integrating Coda’s Go Wish cards into end-of-life discussions.

CODA Alliance, backed by research, is committed to working with families and partners to help:
• community members learn about end-of-life care options
• provide positive, easy ways to encourage and help families and professionals hold more comfortable discussions at any stage of life. For example, CODA created Go Wish cards that have been and are still being translated into various languages. The playing cards offer an educational, entertaining method to help families determine what’s important to them in preparing for end-of-life wishes and actions
• bring organizations together to help overcome barriers to end-of-life care and preparation.

“If we can overcome the stigma of talking about end-of-life, we can ensure that families are prepared to follow their loved one’s wishes before they can’t tell us what they want,” said Julie Groves, CODA Alliance Board member. She also mentioned that CODA is in the process of expanding their website to provide more resources and languages for professionals, families and those dealing with end-of-life issues. Learn more at:

2) Ellen Goodman’s quest to open up the doors of communication with the non-profit organization she founded called The Conversation Project.

This is their Purpose: “The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care.  Too many people are dying in a way they wouldn’t choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.  It’s time to transform our culture so we shift from not talking about dying to talking about it. It’s time to share the way we want to live at the end of our lives. And it’s time to communicate about the kind of care we want and don’t want for ourselves.  We believe that the place for this to begin is at the kitchen table—not in the intensive care unit—with the people we love, before it’s too late. Together we can make these difficult conversations easier. We can make sure that our own wishes and those of our loved ones are expressed and respected.”  Learn more about The Conversation Project @ The Conversation Project.

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Lynn’s personal mission takes the guesswork out of the unexpected by making sure that people feel confident and in control of their future.  Clients say that her expertise, combined with her high-touch approach, makes planning simple, smooth and effective.  Through a comprehensive assessment process to capture a client’s current situation, she provides the practical resources and follow-up needed to provide protection and direction in advance of important transitions in life.

Lynn’s background includes global leadership positions in aviation, non-profit and business start-up ventures.  Additionally, she served as a volunteer emergency team responder during her years in aviation.  As she dealt with the aftermath of large scale emergencies and the impact to families, she gained a new sense of appreciation for the many moving pieces of life.  This inspiration, coupled with her professional experience, has proven invaluable in guiding others.
Contact Lynn via Email or online @ The Living Planner

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