Starting “The Conversation”

In 2010, journalist Ellen Goodman and a group of colleagues started the Conversation Project. The Conversation project is bringing awareness about your end-of life-wishes. Goodman and colleagues began to share stories of “good deaths” and “bad deaths” within their circle of loved ones. They started the Conversation project in order to make it easier to initiate conversations about dying. They widened the campaign with the goal of ensuring that everyone’s wishes for end of life care are expressed and respected. Today, The Conversation Project team includes five seasoned law, journalism, and media professionals who are working pro bono alongside professional staff from who bring a wealth of expertise to the project.

Studies have shown that as much as 90% of people think that discussing the end of their life wishes with a loved one, but only about 27% actually do so. 56% people have not communicated their end-of-life wishes. This is most likely because it is not an easy topic to initiate. However, these conversations are vitally necessary for all involved. The Conversation Project website includes a starter kit, containing guidance for discussing this matter with loved ones.

When bringing up the difficult topic of the end of your life, family members often hope for the best and avoid the conversation. The kit is designed to get (and keep)The Conversation going, by including topics such as health, legal, and financial issues, expressed in terminology that makes them easier to talk about.

Too many people die in a manner that they would not choose. The Conversation Project offers all of the essential resources needed to talk to loved ones without being in a medical setting. Have you had The Conversation with your family members? Would you or someone you know be more likely to have The Conversation if they used these tools?

We encourage you to visit the website and leave your comments below.

To learn more about the Conversation Project visit:

By Kyleigh Kinney