Demystifying Death and Dying



12:30pm – 2:00pm

Berkshire Community College

Room H-402


4/22, 4/29, 5/6, 5/13, 5/20

Five Sessions

Death: it’s normal, it’s natural. It will happen to us. It will happen to our loved ones. Yet,

why do we not know more about it? In this course you will learn from various speakers

about the process of dying, choices and options, differing cultural beliefs, legal issues,

new trends in dying and much more. Bring your questions. It’s time to increase our

knowledge and mitigate our fear around death!


Session 1 April 22   Hospice Medical Director, Kyneret Albert, MD

Hospice and palliative Care 101—What Hospice does and the many services it provides; the history and philosophy of the hospice movement; when is it appropriate to call Hospice; choosing comfort vs. cure and what is comfort care anyway?


Session 2 April 29   Hospice Staff—June Green, Family Support Services Director; Holly Merchant, LCSW, Bereavement Coordinator; Meredith Patton, BSN, RN, CHPN, Patient Care Coordinator

How to talk about dying—with family members, friends, and the patient; speaking about advanced care planning; dealing with dementia; communicating with the bereaved; overcoming our fear of speaking about death. The physical and psychological process of dying—differences in place of death including home, nursing home and ICU; choices that must be made to insure your preference is achieved.

Session 3 May 6   Fred Dery, Dery Funeral Home

Straight talk from a funeral director about funeral options including costs, trends, personalized celebrations, etc.

Session 4 May 13  Wisdom from Religious Leaders

Cultural and ethnic variations of dying rituals and beliefs with speakers from various religious traditions.

Panelists include: Rich Hayes, Hospice Chaplain and Spiritual Counselor; Rabbi Barbara Cohen, Spiritual Leader of Congregation Ahavath Sholom in Great Barrington; Rev. Msgr. John J. Bonzagni, Judicial Lawyer and pastor of several churches in the Berkshires.

Session 5 May 20   Paula Almgren, Esq., Almgren Law

Legal issues and the importance of having a financial and health care plan in place in the event of your death or incapacity. Accounting for your assets and ensuring they pass as you wish as easily as possible and that your health care wishes are known and followed by your health care agents. Preparing in advance for incapacity and declaring your end-of-life goals, advanced directives and how best to have your wishes honored.


Curated by Elizabeth Dillman with Hospice and other speakers from the community.



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