Have you ever considered a dinner conversation about end of life but haven’t been able to have it?  Did you ever consider that this conversation could actually be fun and interesting? Then consider joining Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss for our first Advance Directives Conversation Café in partnership with Atlantic Health System.   In addition to a wonderful evening, all diners will receive a free one-week membership at the Westfield Area Y!

The news coverage about people deciding to take end of life care into their own hands and have more control over the way they live the last days and weeks of their lives has been widely publicized. People have voiced their opinions that they would rather not end up in a hospital receiving aggressive treatments for illness that they will not survive. According to a national survey done by The Conversation Project (2013) 70% of people want to die at home, but less than 30% of people tell their family their wishes. So, 70% of people end up dying in a hospital or care facility with invasive treatments because without knowing their wishes, family members and doctors often do everything possible to keep them alive. 

So, how do you HAVE the conversation?  Imagine and Atlantic Health System are hosting two simultaneous events, one in Westfield and one in Summit, at two great restaurants.  Diners will be playing a fun, interactive game called My Gift of Grace with the people at your table (you can either come as a group or sit with strangers) that will help you start thinking about your own wishes and help you communicate them to the people in your life.  There will also be on hand professionals from different fields (a doctor, an estate planner, a life insurance salesman, a funeral home director, etc.) in case questions come up as well as end of life documents that can be completed at home.

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These conversations often don't happen at all-- and when they do, they are often after an illness has been diagnosed.  The time to have these conversations is NOW, when you don't have to make stressful decisions quickly!  Mary Robinson, the Executive Director and Founder of Imagine reports that “talking about illness and death and dying can reduce fear and stress, open communication and prepare families for end of life decision making. It can actually improve the quality of life.”

The Conversation Café will take place on April 17th from 7-9 PM at The Mulberry House in Westfield and Batavia Café in Summit. To register, call 908-264-3100 or go to imaginenj.org/events.

Atlantic Health System includes Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ; Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ; Newton Medical Center in Newton, NJ; Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, NJ; and Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown, NJ, as well as Atlantic Rehabilitation, Atlantic Home Care and Hospice, and Atlantic Ambulance Corporation.  Atlantic Health System is part of Atlantic Accountable Care Organization, one of the largest ACOs in the nation, which is working to reduce the growth of health care costs, improve quality and better coordinate care, and is affiliated with Atlantic Medical Group, a team of  more than 600 community-based primary care physicians and specialists.