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Death Cafes In Senior Living

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Over the past several months there have been a number of articles written about death cafes. In case you don’t know what a death cafe is, it is not a place where people gather to commit mass suicide. It is, rather, a gathering of people to talk about death and dying. Here is a current article in the Kansas City Star titled Appreciating Life in a Death Cafe. According to the article the goal of a death cafe is to “ Help people make the most of their lives, their “finite” lives, by giving them a chance to discuss their mortality — something family and friends often refuse to contemplate.”

Grass Roots

These grass root gatherings talk about things like:

  • Are there alternatives to burial or cremation?
  • How should you act around someone who is dying?
  • Is there a right way and a wrong way to grieve?
  • They might ask the question: Before I die I want to . . .
  • What about wills?
  • What’s it like to die?
  • How do I make end of life medical decisions?
  • More than anything else it is an open, safe place to talk about death, dying and mortality.

My Questions

Ultimately death and dying are a very real part of every single senior living community. I wonder if a death cafe in a senior living community would be helpful or hurtful for residents and their families. I find myself wondering if it would be a good way to serve the marketplace community by holding death cafes that would be open to anyone. Finally, have any of you tried hosting a death cafe and how did it go?

Steve Moran

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