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…and why doesn't anyone want to
talk about him?
They call me the Grim Reaper, but I’m just a natural part of life.
However, if you don’t plan for me, I can get pretty grim.
I’m here to help you plan for my arrival.
So take a look around. I’ll catch up with you later!
Most Americans are not comfortable
talking about death.
The vast majority of us would prefer to die at home naturally,
in peace and dignity.
In reality, most Americans die in dehumanizing hospitals.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
If you want to let go with dignity, you need to start by having
a conversation with the ones you love.
Then you need to have the legal tools in place to make sure
your choices are honored.
A written record of your healthcare intentions becomes critical
to ensure that your wishes are followed when you are approaching
the end of life and if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Advance Directives include two key elements:
A MEDICAL DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY
appoints someone to serve as your Agent to act on your behalf if you
are unable to speak for yourself due to illness or incapacitation.
A LIVING WILL
(a declaration as to medical or surgical treatment)
gives specific instructions about the kinds of treatment and care you
would or would not want at the end of life if you are unable to
speak for yourself.
You’ll need to consider some very important and difficult decisions.
You’ll need to have difficult conversations with your loved ones.
And you’ll need to make sure your Advance Directives are accessible
to those who need them.
That’s why we created a workshop to help you through the process.
Our Advance Directive workshop
is an interactive learning experience.
Upon completing the Letting Go With Dignity workshop,
you will have everything you need to complete your Advance Directives.
Letting Go With Dignity workshops are available throughout
Colorado at a nominal cost to participants.
Click here tonear you.
Click here if you would like to
Letting Go With Dignity is a CO nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization
dedicated to providing educational programs
that empower individuals to make informed
Since the first step in the process of end-of-life planning is to
complete the current centerpiece of Letting Go With Dignity
is a facilitator-led, interactive, story-driven workshop.
This compelling learning experience weaves information with
poignant storytelling and humor to inspire, motivate
and provide participants the tools and support needed to
complete their Advance Directives.
In order to make this critical information available to
as many individuals as possible,
we are reaching out to a broad range of organizations throughout
Colorado to explore how we might collaborate to disseminate,
build upon and adapt the educational resources
that we have developed
to reach diverse communities.
LGWD BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Lynn Weitzel, President
Lynn Weitzel, BSN, is the lead facilitator and trainer for the Letting Go With Dignity Workshops. A graduate of Duke University and Regis University School of Nursing, she is a retired hospice RN case manager and was Director of Nursing at a hospice in Lakewood, CO. Since retirement, she has volunteered with hospice and currently is an end-of-life consultant for terminally ill clients in the Denver/Boulder area. Having also worked as a teacher, secretary and editor, Lynn brings a variety of experience to LGWD. Mother of 3 sons and grandmother of 8, she’s an avid flower and vegetable gardener, seamstress, and reader.
Richard Tano Loeffler MD, Vice President
Richard is a physician consulting patients on expectations and decisions at the end-of-life. He collaborates with Anne Borguignon-Weeks, ANP for the Quality Aging Project, and end-of-life consultancy. A graduate from the University of Colorado School of Medicine, he is board certified in Emergency Medicine. He practiced in Aurora, Colorado from 1976 until his retirement from Emergency Medicine in 2006.
Over the past two years, he actively participated in the writing and production of Letting Go with Dignity videos, which are designed to bring to the attention of the public the issue of medical care at the end-of-life. It is his hope that by joining Letting Go With Dignity, he will empower individuals through advanced directives, designation of heath care surrogates and conversation with loved ones and their medical care providers.
Nancy Hemmenway Bale
Nancy spent 36 years as an employee of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. She was a secretary, project assistant, and budget analyst. She is a graduate of Regis University summa cum laude with a BA in communications. Nancy is a member of First Universalist Church and several lineage societies. She served as secretary/treasurer for Compassion & Choices of Colorado board.
John Rockwell Lobitz MD
Dr. John Lobitz is a retired gastroenterologist who has had a career long interest in End-of- Life healthcare choices and the importance of documenting them and discussing them with one’s family and healthcare providers. In his retirement he is continuing the legacy of his mother, Dr. Caroline R. Lobitz, who was one of the founders of Oregon Health Decisions. He has given presentations to groups in Denver about Advance Directives and having “The Conversation” about one’s wishes. He is a former board member of Life Quality Institute that promoted education of healthcare providers and the public about Palliative Care. John is excited to be a new board member of Letting Go With Dignity.
Tom Dudzinski, Project Director
For more than 30 years, Tom Dudzinski has been developing educational media projects for broadcast and non-broadcast clients. He specializes in working with education, health care and non-profit organizations to tell stories that make a difference.
As founder and president of Renaissance Media, Tom has produced many PBS and cable documentaries and television series that have been distributed locally, nationally and worldwide. Some of his non-broadcast clients have included Kaiser Permanente, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, City of Hope Cancer Center, Temple University, the State of Colorado, and the Rolf Institute for Structural Integration.
Previously Tom served as Executive Producer for Learning Services at KRMA-TV (currently Rocky Mountain PBS) and as a producer-director at WDCN-TV, Nashville’s PBS station. Tom’s work has been recognized with numerous prestigious awards, including Emmy Awards, New York International Film Festival, Telly, CINE Golden Eagle, among others.
Laurie Brock, Advisor
Laurie Brock has been involved in the information and publishing industries for over forty years. She has extensive experience in marketing, research and the development of both print and electronic publications, including a reference series on issues relevant to older adults. Her specific expertise is in understanding how people acquire and use information. She serves in an advisory role with Letting Go with Dignity incorporating those skills of inquiry to help guide and support the organization.
The following are documents that can help you through your end-of-life planning process. In addition to the Colorado Advance Directives form, you will find additional forms that can assist in your advance care planning process and you may choose to supplement your Advance Directives. You can download these forms to your desktop or laptop computer and fill them out with Adobe Reader. If you don't have Adobe Reader, you can get it as a free download here.
Once one gets past the initial inclination to avoid the topic, the end of life is a subject of fascinating and important stories, ideas and explorations. We’ve collected a few videos, audios and articles that we find particularly interesting. If you’re aware of a story you’d like to share,
In La Crosse Wisconsin, almost everyone plans for their death. Not coincidentally, La Crosse spends less for end-of-life care than any other place in the country.
We turn to doctors to save our lives. But when it comes to the critical question of what to do when death is at hand, there seems to be a gap between what we want doctors to do for us, and what doctors want done for themselves.
Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel
Frontline explores the intersection of life, death, medicine and what matters in the end.
Peter Saul asks us to think about the end of our lives - and to question against the modern model of slow, intubated death in a hospital.
In Tana Toraja, weddings and births aren’t the social gatherings that knit society together. In this part of Indonesia, big, raucous funerals form the center of social life.
Judy MacDonald Johnston
Thinking about death is frightening, but planning ahead is practical and leaves more room for peace of mind in our final days. Judy MacDonald Johnston shares five practices for planning a good end of life.
The federal government has spent billions helping doctores and hos- pitals digitize patients’ lives, but there are still many holes in our electronic records including a big one: We can’t list end-of-life wishes.
Doctors die, just like the rest of us. What’s surprisingis not how much medical care they demand, but how little.
At a Death Café, people, often strangers, gather to eat cake, drink coffee and discuss death. Their objective is “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives”. A Death Café is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It’s a discussion group rather than a grief support group or counseling session.
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