Have you openly talked about your own death, or end-of-life wishes with your loved ones? How do we make the best choice ourselves?
Death and Dying is not a subject that most of us discuss at the kitchen table. The importance this topic came to light when CRIS received a number of inquires regarding grieving and end of life issues. Several meetings were held which evolved into a decision to develop a series of presentations and discussions: Beginning Conversations on Death and Dying.
Our first event on Jan. 24th featured Joel Potash MD. and was a huge success with over 45 participants. It was heartwarming to hear people express themselves openly about a subject that in our culture is usually taboo. For example, one woman wanted to understand better how she could deal with her family who clearly had different ideas about her treatment than she did. Dr. Potash gently reminded her that she was the person dying and had a right to make her own decisions. He went on to say, it is important to have the conversations with loved ones before one reaches the end of life.
End of life issues will be addressed directly in the upcoming presentation on Feb. 21 by Dr. Ray Bepko: Medical Aid in Dying-Why or Why Not? Six states have already ratified the so called medical-aid-in-dying act, which enables physicians to assist the patient when clear and compelling criteria are met. This bill is currently before the NYS legislature’s Health Committee. Dr. Bepko’s presentation will help us decide for ourselves how to encourage our legislators to vote on this issue.
For those readers who would like to come to this presentation armed with facts, the Cazenovia Public Library currently has books available on this urgent issue.
Dr. Bepko, is a psychologist in private practice in Clinton, and chair of the Ethics Committee for the Resource Center for Independent Living in Utica. Medical aid in dying – also known as death with dignity – is one end-of-life option. It is currently authorized in six states: California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
This lecture series seeks to stimulate open, honest and useful conversations about death and dying. There will be ample time following the presentation for questions. The program is free and open to all.
Plan ahead: On March 28, the CRIS lecture series will hear from geriatric physician Dr. Andrea Berg and Karen Clark on personal goals and values in tailoring your medical care plans.