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Discussing death with humour

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June 13, 2018

Performers in Unspoken will help local families to discuss the end of their life.

An upcoming event in Shepparton will create a safe space for families and their loved ones to discuss getting old and plans for their final days.

Targeting the elderly, their families and carers, Unspoken: What will become of me? is an interactive, upbeat session which pulls down the barriers families have when it comes to discussing death.

Run by the Health Issues Centre (HIC), its chief executive Danny Vadasz said, as a society, we were just not comfortable talking about death and decline.

‘‘We’re okay talking about retirement and our funeral plans and the things we have put in place for once we have gone, but we don’t want to address the stuff in between,’’ he said.

Mr Vadasz said the tragic fall-out from this inability to communicate our deepest wishes was too many difficult conversations were happening in clinical settings when facing a health crisis or, worse still, family members were left to make tough choices on our behalf, usually without knowing what we wanted.

‘‘We automatically think our families will know what to do when the time comes — but the truth is they often don’t, and what should be a time when families pull together in common grief can end up in acrimonious disagreement over end-of-life and other options,’’ he said.

‘‘We need to step up and take charge and stop putting the burden on our families.’’

The Health Issues Centre, in collaboration with Council of the Ageing (COTA) Victoria, is looking to kick-start that conversation and put people in charge of initiating the conversation and making decisions about how they will navigate their latter years.

However, their conversation starter is anything but maudlin or serious.

Instead it takes the shape of a series of fun-filled theatrical events which take participants through a series of encounters, performances and activities designed to gently provoke discussions around ageing and capacity and, in the process, open the door to end-of-life decisionmaking.

‚óŹUnspoken will be held at the Eastbank Centre, Welsford St, Shepparton on Tuesday, June 19, from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm; and Wednesday, June 20, from 10am to 1pm. For bookings visit www.eventbrite.com.au

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