We all know that none of us is immortal. Why, then, are so many of us reluctant to talk about the inevitable?

Nursing students at North Island College helped get the conversations started this year for April 16th, National Advance Care Planning Day, by hosting “Food For Thought” for their classmates and instructors. The innovative approach offered a chance for intergenerational participants to consider thought provoking questions with others about the care they would want if they were ever unable to speak for themselves. And, doing this over food in a casual setting was the perfect way to decrease the natural anxiety that often comes with the topic!

After reflecting on the experience, Hilary Decker noted, “Perhaps the most valuable lesson I have learned through my experiences with Advanced Care Planning this semester is that these decisions may be needed at any age or stage in life. Reflecting on what is meaningful at the end of life helps clarify what is meaningful today. It showed me who in my life I most want to share difficult moments with and who I can trust to honour my life’s journey and final wishes.”

But studies suggest that only 1 in 7 Canadian adults has written their Advance Care Plan. Vanessa Amos, another student, commented, “Talking about Advance Care Planning reminded me how important life truly is. Many people are focused on living life without the thought of what their wishes would be if anything was to go wrong. And, the argument and heartache that could be saved if more of us were willing to open up and have the conversation about our own values and beliefs.”

Regardless of our age, we all need to get these conversations started — for ourselves and for our loved ones.

With interest in end-of-life issues at an all-time high, it’s time for each of us to take the next step — whether that’s thinking about our options, committing our wishes to paper, sharing it with our loved ones, or updating our plan for the first time in years.

You are cordially invited to learn more about Advance Care Planning at free introductory workshops on Thursday, April 20th, 6:30-8:30pm or Monday, May 15th, 1-3pm at Comox Fire Hall, 1870 Noel Ave. To register for these sessions or access other advance care planning information, contact the Comox Valley Hospice Society at 250-339-5533 or reception@comoxhospice.com.  You may also wish to review information and resources at www.AdvanceCarePlanningCV.ca

Terri Odeneal, MSN

Comox Valley Hospice Society