We all have busy lives, and there's a lot to consider on a regular basis—health and well-being, family, investments, work, retirement, giving back, leisure pursuits. These considerations shift during various periods in our lives; among the most critical are those that reveal themselves in the latter stages of one's life and the lives of loved ones. How do we deal with the inevitable challenges, opportunities, and often life-changing decisions to maximize the final stages? How can we best educate ourselves on the multitude of legal, healthcare, and other documents that are necessary?
Thankfully there are resources available to help individuals, families, and caregivers deal with future healthcare decisions. A pilot program has been developed called What Matters: Caring Conversations About End of Life. The JCC, in collaboration with The New Jewish Home and the Center for Pastoral Education at JTS, offers this program to enable individuals in the Jewish community to take steps to ensure that their end-of-life wishes will be fulfilled, including the opportunity to incorporate Jewish values as part of the process. Funded through a grant from Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, the initiative expands on Respecting Choices, a national program with a track record of success.
As the JCC is one of the five pilot sites, several Engage volunteers are training to become facilitators for the program. After training they will be able to conduct conversations with people about how they define quality of life and how the values by which they lead their lives might inform their wishes about advance care planning. This includes the importance of having documents in place that clearly spell out their wishes. To get more information on participating, or to request a conversation of your own that will take place later this year, contact Rabbi Brian Fink at email@example.com.
In addition to the new pilot program, the JCC has other offerings for support and enrichment. The list below is a sampling of what is available. For more programs, please visit jccmanhattan.org/programs.