End of life planning can simplify things for those left behind

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(The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Province of Ontario.)

End of life planning isn’t everyone’s favourite topic of discussion, but it is a conversation worth having, and this month, that conversation will be happening at the Silver Symposium.

Hosted by the Tillsonburg Senior Centre and made possible by funding from the Province of Ontario through the Seniors’ Community Grant Fund, the Silver Symposium was developed to connect seniors with experts in a variety of fields of interest to them. Previous presentations have dealt with safety and security, snowbird travel, and accessing community services.

This month’s presentation will feature Ken Butcher of Ostrander’s Funeral Home, who will share the ins and outs of planning for the inevitable. Butcher is the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Ostrander’s, and with more than 12 years experience helping families at the most difficult time of their lives, he has a lot of information to share. Topics to be discussed include ways to personalize funeral and memorial services, the various types of services available, and the importance of funerals in the grieving process.

“I know some people are not very comfortable with talking about death and dying, but it’s really a very important discussion to have,” said Nancy Boutin, Tillsonburg Senior Centre Manager in a media release. “Although some people find these topics morbid, planning ahead and making your final wishes known can be extremely helpful when the time comes. Not only does it provide peace of mind for grieving loved ones, it’s a way to ensure that your wishes are followed.”

Butcher will be joined by John Tretow who handles funeral pre-arrangements for Ostrander’s, and he will go over the kinds of considerations to be made in end of life planning.

Also joining Butcher for the presentation will be Scot Arnold, representing Peacehold. Peacehold is an organization offering estate documentation and assistance. With a minimal amount of pre-planning, Peace Hold is designed to swing into action when someone passes on, assisting families and estate executors with the many tasks they may encounter such as filing a final tax return, retiring the deceased’s passport and other sensitive documents, notifying the various arms of the government about the death, cancelling licenses, memberships and even loyalty card accounts like Air Miles.

“There are so many things to consider when a loved one passes away,” said Boutin,  “and many times, your head is spinning, making it difficult to gather all the information that might be needed to do the necessary work. We’re hoping this session will open the door for seniors to ask questions about end of life planning, and to begin seeing the topic as less scary and uncomfortable.”

All Silver Symposium seminars are free, and open to seniors and their family members from Tillsonburg and the surrounding area. Seminars start at 1 p.m. and include free refreshments.

Silver Symposium seminars conclude in February with a discussion on dementia and Alzheimer Disease. Robyn Fox of the Alzheimer Society of Oxford will be on hand to discuss the signs and symptoms of these conditions and the services that exist within the community to help seniors and their family members cope.

This month’s Silver Symposium gets underway Jan. 28 in the Lions Den, Tillsonburg Community Centre, at 1 p.m.

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