End-of-life forum draws crowd

Categories: Community Engagement.

Given the more than 500 people who showed up at the Steelworkers’ Hall for a discussion on end-of-life-care Thursday evening, it’s clearly one that many want to know more about.

“I’m just flabbergasted at the turnout,” said Dr. Harvey Chochinov, director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit at Cancer Care Manitoba.

“One of the things that’s going to keep me up at night is wondering what Sudburians find so fascinating about death,” he joked.

Chochinov was joined at the forum by Dr. Brian Goldman, a doctor at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital and host of the CBC radio show White Coat, Black Art.

“It’s really important today (to talk about dying), because … we have an aging population,” Goldman told The Star. “We have what’s been called a senior tsunami. It’s also been called a boomer tsunami. Every year more and more boomers are entering the ranks of seniors. They are either dealing with end-of-life issues in their parents, or they’ve done so recently and will soon be dealing with end of life issues for themselves or friends and their other loved ones.

“This is something that, over the next few decades, we’re going to be dealing with more and more. We tend to have a culture that denies death … we should celebrate death the same way we celebrate birth. How many times do I see people in the emergency department who want to extend life just for the purpose of putting off talking about these issues? Wouldn’t it be better if we actually talked about them and prepared ourselves more to deal with it so that it isn’t a big shock when it happens?”

The evening began with a personal talk by Lauren Vary, whose husband John died last year. In 2011 he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The full article appears in the Kapkuskasing Times.

For more information about advance care planning and end-of-life care, please visit www.advancecareplanning.ca.