Death at the Dinner Table

News from Aging, Posted on Fri, 03/28/2014 - 5:40pm

A bold new dining trend is being unleashed in communities all across the U.S. “Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death” (LHD) launched in August 2013, and since that time health care professionals have been chomping at the bit to host their own macabre meals. Here in Cattaraugus County, the first such event is about to take place. The Cattaraugus County Department of the Aging, the Olean Senior Center, and Homecare & Hospice have joined forces to host  a fun, interactive dinner adventure that allows people to talk about how they want to die – a costly conversation that most Americans just aren’t having. 

Have you ever stopped to think what would happen to your children or pets if you suddenly died? Would your family keep you alive as long as possible in the event of unexpected illness? Would you want them to? Would you want your ashes spread somewhere or would you want to be buried in a certain outfit? How would you want to spend your final days?

Over 75% of people want to die at home, and yet only 25% do. End of life expense is the number one reason for seniors declaring bankruptcy in the U.S. We can better prepare ourselves and our loved ones. We can help to avoid family disputes over medical treatment or division of assets. It’s a proven fact that the dinner table is often the most successful place to have important conversations, and these “Death Over Dinner” events provide personal planning kits and all the tools needed to get started. 

“As a professional in the field of Aging and long term care, I have experienced firsthand the heartache and problems that arise when families don’t talk about their wishes before crisis strikes,” stated Cathy Mackay, director of the Cattaraugus County Department of the Aging. “It is our goal to provide a stress-free forum where folks of any age can come together for a unique night out filled with food and powerful information.” 

The “Death Over Dinner” event will be held on Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at the John Ash Community Center in Olean from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. There will be a free spaghetti dinner, vending tables, and door prizes. As part of the evening’s events, experts in the financial, legal, and funeral businesses will be sharing their expertise and real life stories. This event has been generously sponsored by Casey, Halwig, and Hartle and the United Way of Cattaraugus County. Seating is limited so reservations are required on or before April 23, 2014. 

For more information or to make a reservation, call the Department of the Aging at 716-373-8032 or 800-462-2901. There is limited parking at the John Ash Community Center, but on-street parking and city lot parking are available free of charge. We invite you to gather friends and family and join us at the dinner table! Call and make your reservation today.

News from Aging

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