Compassion & Choices Recognizes National Healthcare Decisions Day, April 16
We participated in the annual advance-planning event with an informative webinar, a compelling video featuring Dolores Huerta and more.
by Sonja Aliesch
April 22, 2021
Compassion & Choices went all out for National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) this year, an annual initiative to raise awareness for and share resources about the importance of end-of-life planning.
We were honored to have beloved Compassion & Choices ally and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta create videos in English and Spanish with us in honor of NHDD. In the videos, Huerta encourages individuals to speak with their loved ones about healthcare priorities and values, and put their plans in writing in the form of an advance healthcare directive and power of attorney or healthcare proxy. Says Huerta in the videos, “This is a great opportunity for us to reach out to our loved ones and start having those difficult but necessary conversations about advance care planning.”
Acknowledging the increased tendency for younger adults to delay conversations about their values and priorities at the end of life, we hosted a webinar on NHDD focused on planning for people under the age of 50 and the challenges they face in completing this important process. Moderated by Compassion & Choices National Director of Integrated Programs Matt Whitaker, the webinar featured panelists McKenzy Hampton, palliative care executive director of Serenity Hospice; and Meagan Williams, death doula, community educator and online course creator for Deathwives collective. “We talk about all these other big moments in our lives that not everyone is going to have,” explained Williams. “Not everybody is going to have a wedding. Not everybody is going to have a baby or graduate from somewhere or buy a house. We celebrate all of those things and plan them and talk about them with our friends. But not everyone does those things. Everybody is going to die. Death is necessary. So let’s talk about it.”
Compassion & Choices Senior Communications Associate Alyson Lynchalso addressed the importance of end-of-life planning even for young adults in a moving memoir about the death of her brother at age 25. She recounts the family’s confusion on top of their heartbreak about what he would have wanted, and how this experience motivated her to complete her own advance directive. “For the first time, I felt like I could advocate for myself and the care that I want and don’t want,” Lynch writes. “I realized I could ask questions and do research before making healthcare decisions. I also feel more prepared for the day when my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles might need my help. The first step to becoming an advocate for others is to become one for yourself.”
Every day is the perfect day to make your end-of-life plans. Find helpful tools at our Plan Your Care Resource Center.