A weekly series at the Pickens County Senior Center began today and continues through March looking at end-of-life decisions.
A handout for the class states, “It is hard to talk about dying, death and bereavement. Virtually everyone wants those conversations to have happened, but no one wants to have that conversation today.” The “life planning” series at the Senior Center, located on the east side of Lee Newton Park, Stegall Street, will make that conversation easier for families.
The series opened with the video On Our Own Terms, a Bill Moyers documentary from PBS on dying.
Margaret Ognen, facilitator for the life planning series, said the public is welcome every week at the Senior Center. Each class-style presentation in the series begins at 9 a.m. and lasts an hour-and-a-half each Wednesday. Members of the public are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch and to “enjoy lunch with other seniors in the community.”
Late notice prevented publicity about the class from being published in the Progress prior to the first series installment, but Ognen said anyone interested could view On Our Own Terms at the Pickens library. She said missing the video would not prevent attendees from benefitting from the remaining Wednesday sessions.
Ognen said the series will definitely run through the end of March and may continue into April.
Among topics to be covered are advanced directives; powers of attorney; and community services available.
Following the DVD used in the first session, guest speakers will address the group on their areas of expertise. Scheduled to appear on different weeks are a medical doctor, an eldercare lawyer and a chaplain. The series will allow plenty of time for personal stories and open discussion.
Ognen said this is a class-style format, and outside resources will be provided each week.
In addition to seniors, she thought the series would offer a lot of valuable information for caregivers of older parents.
One person who has lost both parents in recent years said she had picked up a lot of the information on her own, but it would have made everything much easier for her if family members had used these resources earlier.
Ognen said too often end-of-life planning doesn’t begin until the elder person is already in ICU at a hospital, surrounded by people they don’t know.
The public is welcome to attend the free weekly seminar.