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Discussing Death: Special dinner helps families tackle tough topic |

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Discussing Death: Special dinner helps families tackle tough topic

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — One subject very few people like to discuss is death, especially their own. But some doctors and care therapists say it’s a very important conversation to have with friends and family, especially for someone who may develop Alzheimer’s or dementia.

How many people in your life really know how you’d like to spend your last days or the answers to tough choices if they had to be made for you?”

That’s the goal of an event called, “Death Over Dinner” happening at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The concept is not meant to be morbid, in fact, just the opposite. The event takes place on Friday, Nov. 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. There is a sliding scale fee for the dinner up to $75.

The founder of this event, Michaell Hebb, felt like these sort of discussions are often easier if they are centered around food and a dinner table which is a natural place for family members to gather.

“It’s based on his own personal experience. He was 10 years old when his dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. And when his mom told him his dad had Alzheimer’s, they never talked about it again. He didn’t know what was going on. He got moved around to different relatives, and the stress grew for his mom. So, out of his own experience he wanted to make this happen differently,” said Ruth Almen. “Because we know right now there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. It is an illness that is a terminal illness. And because of the way it affects the brain, people lose the ability to make decisions for themselves, they lose the capacity to understand how to make those decisions. so we know that.

Almen said they want people nearing the end of their life to understand that they’ve got to maximize everything in their life and make those decisions with their family. She said people should think about what they want the end of their life to look like. What experiences do they want to have and who do they want to be there with them.

“There will be a set of questions at the table and people will just go around and answer those questions. None of them are particularly scary at all and again they do ask us to reflect on what the end of our life might be like, but also what is most important to us? What do we love to do,” Almen said.  

People will learn about various resources that can help their family and leave with a document called 5 Wishes that will help people put their wishes in writing. There will also be information on working up a will or trust with an attorney, hospice care, Cleveland Clinic programs, Nevada Senior Services, Alzheimer’s Association and more.

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