Death is a taboo topic.
But Ian Bos believes it’s something people should start talking about more because, whether they like it or not, it’s something they will experience.
Bos, has become an advocate for end of life care and proper planning for it since his own experience with his dad’s care in palliative care.
Grateful for the support his family received during his father’s treatment, Bos travelled across Canada on foot to raise money and awareness.
Now a board member with the Aberdeen Palliative Care Society, he’s helping to organize events that will get people talking more about the uncomfortable subject.
On Friday, Oct. 27, the Aberdeen Palliative Care Society will be holding a death café at the New Glasgow library starting at 6:30 p.m.
The goal of the café is to demystify death.
“It’s just an opportunity to informally talk about death,” he explained.
Those in attendance will be split up into small groups and will be given a list of primer questions to help generate a conversation. From there the hope is that the conversations will grow organically.
There are a lot of reasons conversations like this are important, Bos said.
Primarily he said it can help people be prepared.
“I think a lot of families find themselves in crisis when someone gets ill because they haven’t made plans,” he said. “It may be an uncomfortable conversation today, but it’ll make you’re life and your death that much better at the end.”
Topics surrounding death he believes essential are making sure you have a will and detailing the extent of care you would want to receive to sustain life.
He believes these discussions can also make people aware of the services available.
In his own family’s case, he said his family didn’t know about some palliative care resources that were available until about three months before his dad passed away.
“It’s something we could have used eight months before dad died,” he said.
As awkward as the conversations may be in the beginning, Bos believes they can add peace of mind in the end.
“Once I wrapped my head around death and dying I was able to embrace the day a little bit more,” he said. “You don’t dwell on death. You accept life for what it is. It gives you a freedom.”
Anyone who would like to take part in the death café is asked to preregister as space and supplies are limited. To register, you can stop by the New Glasgow library or call (902) 752-8233. Tea, coffee and cake will be included.
Another event will be held on Saturday from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at the New Glasgow library. This community engagement session will include three speakers who will discuss end of life care. Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free, but the Aberdeen Palliative Care Society will also be accepting donations.
Featured speakers for the Oct. 28 Community Engagement Session
Teresa Dellar: Motivated by the flawed health care system she witnessed as a hospital social worker as well as her own personal drive to give the dying and their loved ones the best care possible, she co-founded the West Island Palliative Care Residence 15 years ago.
Colleen Cash: Executive director of the Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Association for the past six years, Cash is passionate and engaging speaker with a strong commitment to improving access to palliative care.
Craig Johnson: Executive director of the Colchester East Hants Hospice Society, Johnson has a strong background in non-profit management, fundraising and communications. The Colchester East Hants Society is considered among the leaders being used as models by the Quality End of Life Coalition of Canada and the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association.