Starting an advanced care planning conversation is the goal of a Knowledge Feast Educational Series beginning this month at Palmyra First United Methodist Church.

Too many times, a family doesn’t talk about a loved one’s last wishes or directions to carry out if someone’s incapacitated. Then when they’re confronted by the reality, without being prepared, the stress can be overwhelming, said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Jim Anderman.

Advanced care planning is a way to avoid that. A person’s end-of-life choices are clearly set out, creating a roadmap for family members to follow.

In Lebanon County, the Age Wave Initiative Advance Care Planning Coalition is spreading the word about the need for advanced care planning, especially for the aging baby boomer population.

The coalition wants to get churches, such as Palmyra First United Methodist, service organizations and other community groups to hold their own presentations.

According to The Conversation Project National Survey (2013), 90% say talking with loved ones about end-of-life issues is important, but only 27% have done so.

And a 2012 Survey of Californians by California Healthcare Foundation found:

  • 60% say making sure family is not burdened by tough decisions is extremely important, but 56% have not communicated their end-of-life wishes.
  • 80% say if seriously ill, they would want to talk to their doctor about wishes for medical treatment toward the end of life, but only 7% report having this conversation.
  • 82% say it’s important to put their wishes in writing, but only 23% have done it.

All six seminars will be held at the church, 520 E. Birch St., Palmyra, from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The schedule:

  • Advance directives, March 21.
  • Preplanning funerals, April 18.
  • Wills/estate planning, June 16.
  • Pros and cons of long-term care insurance, Sept. 19.
  • Nutrition as you age, Oct. 17.
  • Beating the holiday blues, Nov. 21.

Anderman said different experts will be brought in for each subject.

In-person seating will be limited to 20 people for the safety of participants and presenters. Virtual attendance will be optional via Facebook and the church’s website.

Please RSVP for in-person or virtual participation by calling (717) 838-2551 or through

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Paula Wolf worked for 31 years as a general assignment reporter, sports columnist, and editorial writer for LNP Media. A graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, she is a lifetime resident of Lancaster County.