End of Life options and choices discussion


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. 

CRIS kicks off annual appeal


Beginning Conversation about life and death

Are you ready for this?

This is an invitation to start talking about that which will happen to all of us and that none of us talk about.

Oh, we think about death now and then, and if we’re smart and responsible, we’ve drawn up wills, assigned power of attorney and designated health proxies. Perhaps we’ve heard talks, attended workshops and read articles by experts on death and dying. We may have been caretakers of dying relatives and friends.

But let’s get personal: When was the last time you sat with your family or with a group of friends and talked honestly and openly about your own death?

So, let’s start talking about the hidden hopes and fears related to death and dying. Join us for a series of lectures and conversation this winter at the Cazenovia Public Library, brought to you by your friends and neighbors at CRIS (Community Resources for Independent Seniors).

The series begins Tuesday, Jan. 24, with a presentation by Dr. Joel Potash, who will help us understand “How to Get the Dialogue Started.”

Dr. Potash practiced family medicine in Cazenovia from 1966 to 1975 and yes, he made house calls. He is professor emeritus of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, and sits on the hospital ethics committee. He was director of the Family Practice Residency program at St. Joseph’s Hospital and medical director of Hospice of CNY.

The talk will begin at 7 p.m., Jan. 24 in the community room of the library. The program is free and open to all. For more information about the series, contact CRIS at 3655-5743 or email director@callcris.org.