Let's Talk About Death And Dying

Mar 11, 2015

The Orange County Department of Aging is hosting a series of discussions on Death and Dying.
Credit flickr.com/photos/mabeljuillet/

How do we die?

For some death comes suddenly, and there is no time for preparation, but for others death slowly creeps up on us. Though it is inevitable, we often avoid the opportunity to prepare for it.

Guest host Phoebe Judge talks with Pam Tillett, a counselor at the Orange County Department of Aging; Ethan Lechner, a caregiver with the Chatham County Council on Aging; and Heather McKay, a dementia care specialist and director of disease management at the Hospice & Palliative Care Center of Alamance-Caswell, about an ongoing series of discussions regarding death and dying that continues March 19 at the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill.

The state has many Area Agencies on Aging. In North Carolina, AAAs are located within regional Councils of Government. These AAAs have functions in five basic areas:

  1. Advocacy
  2. Planning
  3. Program and resource development
  4. Information brokerage
  5. Funds administration and quality assurance

At 81, famed neurologist, writer, and amateur chemist Oliver Sacks learned that he has multiple metastases in his liver. He has written an op-ed for the New York Times about learning he is going to die. 

Award winning author Ann Patchett has also written an op-ed about the final years with her father, in which she finds joy in the death of her father.

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a study in January 2014 that shows lack of awareness continues to be a barrier for Americans in making medical wishes known. Of the more than 7,900 respondents to the survey, only 26.3 percent had an advance directive. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's Caring Connections offers free state-specific advance directives and information to help people have those essential conversations about care choices. 

Visit the Caring Connections website to learn more.