Make your end-of-life matter with Conversations that Count
- National ‘day’ to begin talking about your wishes for your end of life
- Trained Conversationalists available at six West Auckland locations thanks to Hospice West Auckland staff and volunteers
Hospice West Auckland staff will be facilitating Conversations that Count at six locations around the region on Friday 15 April, to provide people in our community an opportunity to think about their wishes around their future, healthcare, death and dying. These drop-in sessions require no appointment and are open to all. The locations are:
- Health New Lynn, Level 1, Totara Health Services, 1 McCrae Way, New Lynn, 10 am
- New Lynn Library, 3 Memorial Dr, New Lynn, midday
- Massey Community Centre, 385 Don Buck Road, Massey, 10 am
- Hospice West Auckland’s Living and Learning Centre, 206 Swanson Rd, Henderson, 10 am
- Helensville Library, 49 Commercial Rd, Helensville, 10 am
- Ranui Medical Centre, 421 Swanson Rd, Ranui, 1 pm
Sadly, New Zealanders by and large remain resistant to talking about or even imagining what might happen at the end of their lives, says Hospice West Auckland Chief Executive Barbara Williams. “We see it often, even from our patients in their last days. While people may feel like they don’t have any assets, or are perhaps are unwilling to acknowledge the end is so close, we strongly recommend all people take the opportunity to begin these conversations – before they’re in the stressful situation of their own or a family members life-limiting illness.”
Conversations that Count encourage people to think about what gives their lives meaning currently and plan for the future objectively and calmly. Participants are encouraged to think about who they’d like to speak on their behalf, if they cannot speak for themselves, the best way to discuss their wishes for their future health care, and the most effective way to record their choices.
Shirley, who participated in Conversations that Count in 2015, says the process was enormously helpful. “The unexpected death of my son prompted me to get my Enduring Power of Attorney (EPOA) and Will completed. However, I realised that I now had to talk to my family about my choices, and Conversations that Count helped me to find the words.”
Conversations that Count are conversations led by a trained staff member or volunteer and focus on demystifying the end of life. They can be one-on-one or as a group, and in fact many people find the group approach adds additional meaning, as hearing other people’s concerns provides additional perspective.
These structured conversations help people begin thinking about how they’d like the end of their life to play out, and how they’d like to be remembered. From wishes regarding care, including procedures and resuscitation, to types of burials, Conversations that Count cover all the bases, and leave participants in a position to begin putting in place an advance care plan and enduring power of attorney.
“People get turned off all the formal sounding language,” says Barbara, “but it’s vitally important. As a society we pay great attention to birth, what with birth plans and lead maternity carers, yet we’re uncertain of how to pay the same attention or respect to the end of our lives. Conversations that Count are an important part of our approach, in ensuring we all live every moment.”
No booking is required to join a Conversation that Count. Please pop by one of our locations this April, by yourself or with a friend/colleague/family member and invest in your life by thinking about its end.