Finding new ways to talk about life (and death).

Let’s consider a reasonable possibility: we experience an accidental injury occurring during a long-anticipated vacation. We have planned this vacation with family and friends, we have reached our destination and suddenly, we break our leg with a severe fracture. How it happens makes no difference: skiing, tripping on ancient church steps, a distracted driver. It makes no difference because we now live with an undeniable fact: our life has taken a new turn. We cannot deny the change in plans. Regardless of the cause we seek interventions to address the immediate physical needs but also to rearrange our lives, so we endure, even if not appreciate, our adjustments. Our family’s life is altered while close friends bring comfort with recollections of previous and maybe future vacations.

Let’s consider another chapter in our lives: the months before our births when our parents were planning for the changes in their lives and the beginning of ours. They spoke with other parents, both their contemporaries and grandparents about worries and hopes. They could not deny the change that was coming. It was part of a natural life.

As certain as our births are acknowledged, our deaths are naturally assured yet “it always seems too soon, until it’s too late” to have the conversation about an experience we will all share: the death of loved ones, our families and ourselves.

We believe that every individual deserves the right to have the conversations that are most meaningful to them. We believe it is possible to have those conversations before it is too late.

The Hospice Foundation for Jefferson Healthcare wants to support practical steps helpful to creating the lives we want for as long as we live. This aspiration is for our benefit as well as the benefit of our families and community. We believe this activity begins with stepping back from the thoughts of the “end of our lives” and begins with a discussion about what matters to us.

The Conversation Project is a good starting point to gather information and how to start these conversations with the important people in your life.

“Talking with the important people in our life can bring us closer together. It also helps us create the foundation of a care plan that’s right for us—a plan that will be available when the need arises. The Conversation Project wants to help everyone talk about their wishes for care through the end of life, so those wishes can be understood and respected. We created this guide to help you start a conversation (and keep talking) so you can have a say in your health care—today and tomorrow.

“It’s also important to choose what’s known as a health care proxy, or health care advocate—someone who would make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you became unable to voice those decisions yourself. Visit our Guide to Choosing a Health Care Proxy for guidance on picking a proxy.”

(Conversation Project: Your Conversation Starter Kit)

Hospice Foundation for JHC plans to create an opportunity for community members to learn more about how to start having these conversations with their significant others

Additional information will be provided on this website.