One of the keys to well done advance care planning is having meaningful conversations. The thoughtful talks about death and dying can be very uneasy. The Story Corps ( has put together a very useful list of topics to begin story telling about your life, and introduce discussions between you and your loved ones. Once you get started with “Great Questions for Anyone” more nitty gritty topics are easier to broach.

Simply starting life story conversations usually offers opportunities hear answers to important questions. You may someday need to assess what life changing decisions need to be made for a loved one. These stories can help inform those decisions. Often Advance Directives don’t match exactly what is going on.

Some families go day to day without ever delving deeply into the lives of their loved ones. This whole range of questions include some which I wish I had asked my Mom. I would be happy to have these serve as dinner table conversations to learn about the lives of my daughter in law, and my sons who went off to college never to live at home again.

I offer these to you as triggers for conversation that leads somewhere. They may evoke laughter, appreciation, understanding, tears… as you learn the history you never knew, revisit old family stories, and learn more about one another.

Here they are: “Great Questions for Anyone!”