Wise Conversations

Our mission is to change the conversation about death and dying. In many cases, this means actually starting a conversation, since talking about death is often considered a taboo in our society.

Our experience is that many people are actually eager to talk about death, once someone else takes the initiative to start the conversation. After the initial silence when the word “death” is first mentioned, a lively conversation often ensues with stories being shared about the death of a family member or a friend. And then the conversation turns to personal preferences and planning.

We call these Wise Conversations, because they open the door for us to acknowledge our own mortality, to become better informed about end-of-life issues, and to begin making decisions about issues related to death and dying.

Wise Conversations can lead to becoming what we call DeathWise—wiser about death, wiser about planning for it, and committed to living life fully.

Three Steps of Becoming DeathWise
The three steps of becoming DeathWise are taking care of the Essentials, determining Personal Preferences, and communicating your wishes.

Step 1. Take Care of the Essentials
Essentials include healthcare advance directives, financial power of attorney, and plan for distribution of your financial assets.

Step 2. Determine Your Personal Preferences
Personal Preferences include additional decisions regarding healthcare and financial issues, care of the body after death, and choices about the funeral or memorial service.

Step 3. Communicate Your Wishes
A Wise Life begins when you set personal goals, make a commitment to live your life fully, and start to build your support network.

Wise Conversations Workshops
We are launching Wise Conversations Workshops to help create awareness about end-of-life issues. Our first workshops are being offered in the San Francisco Bay area, New York City, and Portland, Oregon. Once the program is established, our goal is to organize Wise Conversations Workshops in all 50 states.

Wise Conversations Workshops provide a structured conversation about death and dying in small group settings, usually in existing local social networks like faith groups, shared living environments, book clubs and libraries. These workshops help participants start the conversation and work through their end-of-life decisions and planning.

The Wise Conversations Planner
Every workshop participant will receive a copy of our Wise Conversations Planner, a personal workbook for taking care of the Essentials, sharing Personal Preferences, and communicating your wishes. The Planner includes practical worksheets to help participants start the conversation, make decisions, and document their decisions and preferences.

How to Get Started
1. Click here to log in and use the Map Tool (Online Planner).
2. Attend a Wise Conversations Workshop and use the Wise Conversations Planner. Contact Us to learn more.
3. Form your own Wise Circle and use either the Online Planner or the Wise Conversations Planner.