The roast turkey and pecan pie may be the same as always, but growing numbers of families plan to add a tradition to their Thanksgiving holiday this week: a frank talk about their wishes for end-of-life care.
Paul Malley, president of Aging with Dignity, the agency behind Five Wishes, a popular living will template, says requests for the documents that guide decisions surrounding serious illness and death typically surge starting now.
"We see a bit of a Thanksgiving rush and a bit of a Christmas rush in December," says Malley, who notes that 30 million copies of Five Wishes have been distributed since 1998.
Now, turkey dinner with a side dish of death isn't everyone's idea of a festive meal. But end-of-life planning advocates say the holidays are an ideal time to have these conversations.
"People come home for the holidays," says Ellen Goodman, the longtime columnist and reporter. She co-founded The Conversation Project, which provides kits to kick-start end-of-life discussions. "It's one of those times when we're together. It's something that's important to talk about."