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How Covid has changed the conversation around death: Free seminar April 8th

Get answers to all of your questions about advanced planning

End of life issues often find us unprepared.

Trying to navigate the different systems and supports available can be difficult. In many cases, people don’t know about hospice care—or understand exactly what it is—until they need it.

Fortunately, local families have Hospice Huronia, a trusted community expert on grieving, death and dying. It’s a safe place to ask questions and understand what options are available, to get good information and support.

They can help with palliative care, hospice, end-of-life, death, dying, grief, bereavement and nursing care. They offer group programs, individual and caregiver support; they’ve also run an array of volunteer community programs since 1994.

“We are here to help,” says Debbie Kesheshian, Executive Director. “There are no barriers: there are no costs for any hospice service, there is no judgement and there are programs for everyone who is experiencing a life-limiting illness, and their caregivers.”

Anyone who has helped a loved one navigate the end of life knows how challenging and isolating it can be. It can be a complicated and fraught time when help and support is needed and appreciated. “Think of us as loving arms to wrap around your family at the most challenging time. We are experts in death, dying and grief. While it may sound like a tough job, it is actually very joyful as we see so much love at Hospice,” she says.

Tomkins House Hospice, a five-bed residential facility, opened in the spring of 2020. It has a warm and welcoming homelike environment. “Imagine being in your own home, with nurses right outside your bedroom door 24/7. It’s a beautiful cross between a hospital and home,” she explains. “Families can relax and enjoy every moment they have with their loved one.”

To receive service, anyone can call them directly and make a self-referral. Clients, patients and caregivers can also work with their doctors or Home & Community Care.

The Covid effect

Covid has definitely changed the conversation around death and caused many of us to consider our own mortality. Many people died over the past two years without being able to see their families. It’s only natural to have questions like ‘What will happen to my loved ones if I die? How will they manage financially? What is important to me in my life?’ More people are thinking about writing wills and making plans ahead of time.

Funerals have changed too, as we haven’t been able to gather and celebrate life. 

“It's a different world and Hospice can help with difficult conversations,” says Kesheshian.

Free seminar Friday, April 8th

An upcoming speaker’s event on Friday, April 8th will highlight the importance of advanced planning. The keynote speaker for “How Covid has changed the conversation around life & death” will be Dr. Kathy Kortez-Miller, author of “Talking About Death Won’t Kill You”. A panel of experts will be at the Midland Cultural Centre between 2-4 pm to discuss Wills & Estates, Financial Planning, Powers of Attorney, Funeral Planning and Coping with Grief.

Local experts will be on hand to answer questions so that people will leave the session better equipped to make decisions for themselves. It is free, with limited seating, so please RSVP to or call 705-549-1034 to register. The seminar will be part of an ongoing conversation as every family in our community deals with life and death issues.

The importance of advanced planning

“At Tomkins House there is a real difference between families who have done all of their planning and arrangements, either for their personal care or their finances. These families are able to enjoy time together,” says Kesheshian. They also, of course, see families who are scrambling to make decisions and complete paperwork, and it’s overwhelming for them.

“It’s a gift to your family to have a conversation about your wishes well ahead of time. Let them know what kind of care you want and where. Just because someone has a life-limiting illness doesn’t mean they can’t make their own decisions. We want to empower people with good, solid information.”

Anyone can refer someone to Hospice Huronia with the consent of the person being referred and anyone can refer themselves. Simply call their office at 705-549-1034 or email their Social Worker, Kate.