Make Connections

One of the most important steps you can take to prepare for death wisely is to start building your support network now.

The best way to do this is to nurture relationships with your friends and family members, and to find service providers you are comfortable with and trust.

Whether you’re helping a parent at the end of their life or planning for your own death, you don’t need to go it alone. Your support team can:

1. Provide emotional balance, encouragement, and a listening ear when you need to talk.
2. Take on small tasks or large projects that relieve you of the burden of trying to do it all yourself.
3. Share their experience and expertise, allowing you to avoid mistakes and learn from their insights.


In some cases, a circle of close friends may be able to provide support even more effectively than your family. This is often the case when family members don’t live nearby and can only come for a short visit before returning home to work or family responsibilities. Your friends can also provide an outside perspective, since they’re usually not as emotionally involved in the death as an immediate family member.


The assistance that you receive from family members will depend upon how close they live, how much free time they have, your relationship with them, and their relationship with the person who is dying or has died. It can also depend upon how comfortable they are with the process of death and dying, and how relaxed they are around a family member in decline. When you enjoy a very close relationship with your spouse or a family member, they can provide an intimate and deep level of support.

Service Providers

When you need support that requires more expertise than friends and family can provide, it’s time to bring in trustworthy service providers. Their knowledge and experience can help you save time, avoid mistakes, and even save some money.

This team can include financial advisors, legal experts, medical staff, funeral directors, social workers and counselors, and other professionals. In the last six months of life, hospice workers can offer a deep understanding of what the person dying and their family are going through.

A Two-Way Street

Don’t forget that you can also be that friend or family member who helps others with pre-planning, or who shows up when the going gets rough. This is an opportunity for you to mentor and support during a potentially stressful transition, and to offer personal assistance and emotional support that they’ll never forget. You’ll also be more prepared and experienced when you are the one dealing with end-of-life issues.

If you have training or experience related to end-of-life issues, you can also offer your services, either on a professional basis or as a hospice volunteer.