I believe that life is about living well and dying well. Have you heard about the Conversation Project? I hadn’t until just recently when one of my favorite newspaper columnists, Ellen Goodman, resurfaced in a Google search about end-of-life issues. Many of you—in my age range—may be very familiar with Ellen, a Boston Globe and Pulitzer Prize winner whose columns chronicled social change and its impact on American life.
The Conversation Project began 2010 when she and a group of colleagues, concerned media, clergy, and medical professionals gathered to share stories of “good deaths” and “hard deaths” within their own circle of loved ones.
Goodman founded the nonprofit after service as caregiver to her mother with Alzheimer’s disease for many years. She and her mother had never discussed end-of-life care, but—ultimately—the care decisions fell to Ellen. “I realized only after her death how much easier it would have all been if I heard her voice in my ear as these decisions had to be made.” Her TED talk is worth a ten-minute listen in my opinion.
The goal of the project is to make it easier to initiate conversations about living and dying and to encourage people to talk now (and as often as necessary), so that their wishes are known when the time comes. The Conversation Starter Guide is a free resource to help guide you through the process. Additional guides on related topics are also available and include: Choosing a Health Care Proxy, Talking with a Health CareTeam, Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s/Other Dementia’s, and For a Child with a Serious Illness.
How does this really work? Check out ABC News with Diane Sawyer for a segment that offers a great overview:
I leave you with these two questions:
- Have You had TheConversation?
- Will you have TheConversation?