On August 24th, at more than 300 dinners in 12 countries, people will gather with friends and family to have dinner and discuss the one thing many of us avoid talking about: our deaths.

Categories: Care.

To celebrate our launch, LHD partnered with the Elisabeth Kubler Ross Foundation, The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and our many remarkable advisors to invite hundreds of global citizens to test drive our preview website and organize global dinners on August 24th. We chose August 24thto honor the ninth anniversary of the passing of Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. The results have been inspiring: 

  • Over 300 people have registered and will host dinners on August 24th, 2013.
  • At last count, dinners are being hosted in twelve countries around the world, including: Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, India, Canada, France, Norway, Vanuatu, Japan, Greece, South Africa, and Australia.
  • Death over Dinner Advisor, Frank Ostaseski, one of the leading voices in end-of-life care will join renowned spiritual teacher, Ram Dass, and others, on the night of our global launch. They will be joined by others in discussing the healing role of Lovingkindness near Death. The following day they will teach a program on the subject in Maui. You can watch a free taped webcast of their program on August 28th. 
  • LHD Founder Michael Hebb will co-host a dinner with Native American Leader Chase Iron Eyes on sacred Lakota land Pe’Sla in the Black Hills of South Dakota. 
  • Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s son, Ken Ross, and EKR Foundation President, Dianne Gray, will be hosting a picnic at Elisabeth’s gravesite.
  • Founder of Origin Magazine, Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) and photographer Casey Kelbaugh will be hosting a dinner on the island of Vanuatu.
  • Dinners are also being planned in Nebraska, Tampa Bay, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and hundreds of far-flung locations. 

“As hospice and palliative care professionals, we see firsthand what happens when families do not talk about wishes and care choices before a loved one is faced with a medical crisis,” saidJ. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO. “We also see how families that have openly discussed what they and their loved ones would want are able to find more support and comfort during the journey at the end of life.”

August 24th is just the beginning. It is our hope that individuals, families and friends will continue to host dinners throughout the year. We will be refining our platform on a continual basis, ensuring that we are providing meaningful tools to individuals taking part in this project.  

What happens after dinner? 

While the power of participating in a death dinner stands on its own, we want to use the momentum of these engagements to allow participants to formalize their end of life plans.  A survey by the California HealthCare Foundation in 2012 found that 82% of people believe that it is important to put wishes for their final days in writing, yet only 23% have followed that task through to completion.

LHD is thrilled to be collaborating with Everplans, a new one-stop online resource that eliminates the hassle when it comes to end of life planning. Created by NYC-based tech entrepreneurs, Everplans will provide Death Over Dinner attendees a co-branded and produced workbook, which addresses such topics as choosing a health care proxy, writing a living will and deciding whether or not to become an organ donor. Everplans works hard to simplify these tough topics so that all attendees can create a proper plan and peace of mind.

For updates on dinners happening around the globe, follow Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death on Facebook and Twitter. Share your dinners with us using #deathoverdinner.

?About Let’s Have Dinner and Talk about Death Project?

The Let’s Have Dinner and Talk about Death project brings the important subject of end of life into the foreground and gives people the opportunity to talk about it.  The Let’s Have Dinner and Talk about Death project stemmed from a Master of Communication in Digital Media (MCDM) course at The University of Washington.  The course and resulting long-term project is intended to not only create communal dialogues around death, healthcare and human life, but to bolster a universal discourse, ushering in a revolution of life itself.  The syllabus for the course is available at www.learni.st.  For more information about Let’s Have Dinner and Talk project watch our founders TEDMED talk from the Kennedy Center.

For more information visit www.deathoverdinner.org

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