Articles and News

WELC’s Bronxville Adult Courses – Fall 2014

I’m Not Afraid of Death:
I Just Don’t Want To Be There When It Happens

                                                                –Woody Allen

A series of thought provoking and informative workshops that will take a sensitive but not somber approach to planning for what we would at times prefer not to think about.

If this is your or your family members’ attitude, this workshop is for you. Learn how to communicate with your spouse, your parents, or your adult children about your end of life wishes – and theirs. How can you be sure you get the treatments you wish (and don’t get the treatments you don’t want)?  Mostly it’s knowing how to “talk about it” – with family and physicians. You will get tips and take-home material to get the conversations started – and going – with plenty of love and laughter!

Two certainties in life. We spend a lot of time worrying about taxes. How about spending a little time planning and preparing for the other inevitable event – and the time leading up to it? Having the basics in order is a great gift to your family. Do they know where to find your important documents if you suddenly became unconscious or died (where are those tax returns?) Have you shared your wishes regarding a funeral service? What do you want to do with your pets? This workshop will give you the resources and tools needed to get all the pieces organized in a simple and practical way.
Materials included.

Session Information:

Course ID:  LDF06B
…Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
Monday, October 6, 2014
7:00 – 8:45 pm
BHS Room B-102

Course ID: LDF06C
…And Taxes
Monday, November 3, 2014
7:00 – 8:45 pm
BHS Room B-102

Registration and Information

News and Narratives of Interest – Summer 2014

When my 85-year old father took himself off dialysis and decided his multiple advanced terminal illnesses were sending him a message, his elite teaching hospital sent us to a large hospice organization in the region. Almost immediately we realized we were getting stock answers to our questions, and began to question whether our father, and our family, would get personalized care. We contacted a smaller hospice organization that saw us through the weeks ahead with compassion and care.

A recent “New Old Age” blog by Paula Span reminded me of a difficult question many of us have to face—and provided some guidance, if not quite answers. “How to Choose a Hospice” is the question at hand; and interviewee Naomi Naierman, founding president and CEO of the American Hospice Foundation (closing for lack of funding), has some important suggestions. Families and patients should know that in most localities there is a choice among hospices. Hospice care is no longer always delivered by local non-profit organizations: More often hospices are run by large for profit corporations—and not all hospices put the patient and family before the bottom line. This interview with Naierman offers great questions to ask of hospices and even more are included in Naierman’s guide, “Choosing a Hospice: 16 Questions to Ask.” …READ MORE…

News and Narratives of Interest-Fall 2013

News and Narratives of Interest – Fall 2013

Every once in a while you come across an article that makes you think:  Ok, I can stop right here.  “End of Life Tech Companies Grow with Changes in Death Traditions”in a June 2013 issue of The Huffington Post is just that article.  It will give you a great review of new web-based end of life information and planning resources.  Yes, you still need to help you access resources and information specific to Westchester County, but in combination with these other sites, you will be all set. is a new website, a project of the Westchester End-of-Life Coalition.  It is a unique tool for Westchester residents.  It shows how to prepare in advance for serious health care issues and guides you through steps that can be taken in case you are diagnosed and living with a serious illness; it also helps you cope with issues around the death of family member. …READ MORE…

News & Narratives of Interest – Feb 2013

News and Narratives of Interest-Feb 2013

An article in the fall 2012 issue of the Health Advocacy Bulletin, The Journal of the Health Advocacy Program at Sarah Lawrence College, by Vicki Breitbart, Director of the Program and one of WELC’s Advisory Board Members, addresses a situation experienced by many of us as caregivers for elderly parents.

Vicki’s mother, age 93 and living independently, began to steadily decline, losing sight, hearing, and mobility.  When she was admitted to the hospital for surgery, the downward spiral was accelerated by a cascade of interventions, poor communication, uncoordinated care, and challenges to her agency.  “With all my knowledge about the health care system, we still were caught in the irrational, uncoordinated and often chaotic care for the elderly ill and dying,” writes Vicki. …READ MORE…

At the End of Life, Talk Helps Bridge a Racial Divide


The family seated opposite me is tense. Having met at the bedside of a critically ill patient only moments earlier, we have gathered in a quiet alcove next to the intensive care unit to discuss what can only be bad news.

The patient — someone’s spouse, parent, child — is dying. As a palliative care specialist, I am to explain this with clarity and empathy and elicit an informed decision about what to do next.

This encounter has come after days, weeks or even months of terrible emotional and physical anguish, avalanches of bewildering, conflicting information and opinion, hopes raised and lost, and long vigils in the family waiting area. Now, it is the opinion of the I.C.U. staff that survival is no longer an option, and I share this opinion. …READ MORE…

Protect your wishes by filling out health care proxy

By David C. Leven and Mary Beth Morrissey

In February a new patient’s rights law, the Palliative Care Information Act, became effective in New York. Terminally ill patients now have the right to receive information and counseling regarding palliative care and end-of-life options. Many of us, when terminally ill, will no longer have decision-making capacity and will not be able to make decisions about those options. What if we have not appointed a health care agent to make decisions for us and no one knows what treatment we would want or not want? Would decisions be made for us contrary to what we would have decided?

Too many times we have heard, and you may have as well, stories about people no longer able to make health care decisions for themselves, suffering terribly at the end of their lives, and being kept alive on machines because no one knew their health care wishes. Many of us have in fact considered our end-of-life treatment preferences and, of course, expect and want them to be honored. Still, only about 30 percent of us have communicated these preferences to loved ones or our doctors and have actually appointed a health care agent to make health care decisions if we lose decision-making capacity. The time to appoint a trusted person to make these decisions for us and to have conversations with our loved ones and doctors about our goals of care is now, while we are healthy. This is a gift to our loved ones and ourselves.

READ FULL ARTICLE:  The_Journal_News_HCP_41611

Family Health Care Decisions Act Summary

The Family Health Care Decisions Act establishes the authority of a patient’s family member or close friend to make health care decisions for the patient in cases where a patient lacks decisional capacity and did not leave prior instructions or appoint a health care agent. The family member or close friend’s decision making authority would include the authority to direct the withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining treatment when standards set forth in the statute are satisfied.