With the publication of Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal in 2014, the difficult subject of death and dying was brilliantly reframed as living to the last with autonomy, dignity, and even joy. In it, Dr. Gawande, a renowned surgeon, writer and public health researcher at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, describes how we can better live with age-related frailty and approaching death and how we can change the philosophy of care giving.
Gawande’s philosophy is echoed in a series of lectures, conversations and hands-on workshops designed by members of Beacon Hill Village running though the spring of 2017. Entitled “Living Well / Ending Well,” the series began on Monday, November 7 with “Keeping Healthy: Diet, Nutrition and Exercise” and will conclude in the spring with a three-part session entitled “Living and Planning for the End.” Other topics include “Wills and Other Key Documents,” “Housing and Beyond,” and “Getting Out: Driving and Mobility, and Safety on the Streets.” In all, there will be fourteen sessions, of which many are open to the public while others are available to members of Beacon Hill Village only.
The series was developed by a small team of Beacon Hill Village members, including Karen Garvin, Betsy Peterson, and Steve Roop of Beacon Hill, Murray Frank of the South End, Joan Bragen and Mary Fruen of Back Bay, and Elizabeth Cook of the Downtown Waterfront. They wanted to develop a series of conversations that would touch upon the many facets of aging. “We all have begun thinking about aging and how to manage the process positively,” Garvin explains. “It is important that we provide our members informative as well as inspirational programs.”
“Keeping Healthy: Diet, Nutrition & Exercise,” which kicked off the series at the Boston Public Market on November 7th, was led by Kate Sciacca, RN, of Beacon Hill, who conducts Wellness Clinics at BHV, Cindy Sullivan, ACE Certified Senior Fitness Specialist, of Beacon Hill, who leads exercise classes for BHV members, and Catherine Frederico, MS RD LDN who discussed nutrition. The session concluded with a light and nutritious lunch. The following week an information session on “Mind & Body Medicine” will be held on Wednesday, November 16 at 2pm at Kings Chapel Parish House. The discussion will be led by Ann Webster, a health psychologist who specializes in Mind/Body Medicine at the Benson Henry Institute at MGH and who is currently writing a book titled Aging Without an Expiration Date.
For a complete listing of programs in the Living Well / Ending Well series that are open to the public, please contact Beacon Hill Village at 617.723.9713 or visit www.beaconhillvillage.org.