For our 2019 annual Senior’s Month community event, Hamilton Aging Together sponsored a multigenerational conversational-workshop on death and dying.

The “Hello Game” or Conversation Game” the workshop was based on is available through the Common Practice website.

It was facilitated by Jennifer Morritt, Palliative Resource at the Hamilton Family Health Team.

Jennifer and her assistant Rebecca split us up into small conversational groups, each with a spread of ages, from early 20’s to mid-80’s.

We were given a variety of questions:

  • “If you needed help going to the bathroom who is the first person you would ask? Who would you never be able to ask?”
  • Who haven’t you talked with in more than 6 months that you would want to talk with before you died?
  • In order to provide you with the best care possible, what three non-medicinal facts should your doctor know about you?

One person in each group read out one of the questions.

We each wrote down our responses to the question separately and then when everyone was done took turns reading our responses and discussing the embarrassing and funny differences.

The energy in the room was happy and boisterous and we each came away better prepared to tackle these issues in our crazy complicated extended families.

The aim of playing The Conversation Game is not to create a written list of what a patient wants but to stimulate conversations about what is important and why. The responses to the questions help those close to the person and any carers know how best to support them. The ultimate goal is to ensure end of life wishes, values and preferences are understood and honoured to provide quality of life at the end of life.