Ever considered a dinner conversation about end of life but haven't been able to have it? Ever consider that this conversation could actually be fun and interesting? Then consider joining Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss for the first Advance Directives Conversation Café in partnership with Atlantic Health System and sponsored by Summit Medical Group and The Action Mill, creators of My Gift of Grace. In addition to a wonderful evening, all diners will receive a free week at the Westfield Area Y.

"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," said Mary Robinson, Executive Director and Founder of Imagine.  “When people clearly articulate their end-of-life wishes to loved ones, everyone involved can be spared anguish and sometimes physical suffering.”

According to a national survey by The Conversation Project (2013) 90% of people say it is important to talk with family about end-of-life decisions, but less than 30% of people have actually spoken with family about their wishes. Initiating conversations with loved ones about one’s wishes, whether or not in the midst of a medical crisis, is often very difficult.

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Imagine and Atlantic Health System are hosting simultaneous events at restaurants in Westfield and in Summit, where diners will be playing a fun, interactive game called My Gift of Grace. The game helps players start thinking about their own wishes and helps communicate them clearly. The game is enjoyable and effective whether one comes to the event with friends and family or sits at a table with strangers. The game was designed for people to practice having better conversations about living and dying well and was the winner of the California Healthcare Foundation design challenge in 2013. There will also be professionals on hand from different fields (a doctor, an estate planner, a life insurance salesman, a funeral home director, etc.) as well as end of life documents that can be completed at home.

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.