End of life issues, end of life decisions - two phrases that most of us choose not to bring into the conversation.
Perhaps the reality of facing our own mortality or that of our parents or grandparents keeps us from wanting to talk about these necessary decisions that we all must make in our lives. We all hope to live a long healthy life and perhaps talking about end of life issues feels like a subject to avoid. In reality, this subject should not be avoided but rather looked at as an opportunity to share our thoughts and wishes with our loved ones no matter what our age is.
Completing a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare form or a "Five Wishes" document is a good place to start talking about what our wishes would be at the end of our life. Making your wishes known ahead of time can be a gift your family and friends will appreciate when they have to communicate those decisions to health care professionals if you are unable to express them. According to AARP, "Planning now for your future health care is one of the most important acts you will ever do for yourself and your loved ones."
The Community Coalition on Grief and Bereavement will be presenting a panel discussion entitled "Now and Then (Almost) Everything You Wanted to Know About End of Life Issues But Were Afraid to Ask" Oct. 5 at The Bluffs in Houghton.
The panel will be composed of local professionals including Dr Sigurds Janners, Carol Olsen, MSW, Cindy Griffin, RN, Funeral Director Ron Antila, Pastor Amy Terhune and Attorney Roger Helman. Topics they will be discussing include end of life care issues, pain control, advanced directives, support for caregivers, home care, hospice and palliative care. Other topics include care for veterans, spiritual needs at the end of life, finding meaning in one's life, funerals, memorial services, cremation, wills and trusts, and financial power of attorney. The panel discussion will be moderated by Bonnie Johnson, RN. There will be time for questions at the end of the panel discussion. This free program will offer local residents an opportunity to plan and make the best decisions possible for themselves and their family.
The Community Coalition on Grief and Bereavement is a nonprofit volunteer organization that provides grief education, support and referrals to grieving individuals in the Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon counties. Their website is grief-ccgb.org
Please plan to join us at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at The Bluffs for this educational opportunity. This event is open to the public and refreshments will be served.
Editor's note: Sarah Baratono, LMSW, is a social worker and bereavement coordinator at Aspirus Keweenaw Home Health &?Hospice.