On National Health Care Decisions Day, April 16th, 2015, 10am-3pm, Alameda County invites you to visit Conversation Village—a place where you can consider, communicate and document your health care wishes. Advance care planning is important regardless of age. In the Village, erected in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza, you can talk about health care resources, hear stories about what matters to people or complete your own advanced directives. The National Health Care Decisions Day initiative exists to inspire, educate and empower the public and providers about the importance of advance care planning.
End of life care is something we all face, yet too many people are dying in a way they wouldn’t choose, leaving loved ones feeling burdened, guilty and uncertain. Many of us fail to have “the conversation” before treatment decisions must be made. By having and documenting “the conversation” we can assure that our treatment preferences are known, our loved ones empowered to act on our behalf, and our caregivers are free to provide care in the most effective and compassionate manner possible.
This conversation is hard to have. But death touches each of us and unless we muster the courage to discuss it with our loved ones, someone else will end up in the driver’s seat. Or our loved ones will have to guess at what type of medical intervention we would or would not want at the end.
Come on out and stroll through Conversation Village: journey down Conversation Lane, where coaches will be there to guide you, meditate under the juniper tree in Contemplation Corner, record meaningful stories under the Tent of Tales, collect gems on Resource Row from community providers who offer compassionate, effective care for elders and those with life limiting illness.
What matters to you the most?
Tell your loved ones what you want. Ask them to honor your wishes when the time comes. Invite them to think about their own wishes, then document without delay. Empower yourself to make decisions in advance. Don’t worry that you’re being grim or depressing or morbid. You’re being smart and courageous and responsible. You’re being honest and clear and forward-thinking. Let us know if you need guidance:
Getting the Most Out of Life: 510.667.7415, East Bay Conversation Project: www.eastbayacp.org.
We will fill city hall with our stories, our choices and our voices. Medical care is a personal choice and a right. If you do not make your medical choices known, someone else will have to make them for you.
Your decisions matter. Your stories matter. Your signature matters.