Documentary explores meaning of life

When “Being Mortal” was first published in October, 2014, critics acclaimed it as a “must read” book.  Since then, its popularity has soared partly because of the discussion of how we die, but just as much because of its discussion of how we live.

Pierce County Aging and Disability Resources and the Pierce County Library System will host a series of screenings of the PBS documentary “Being Mortal” in observance of Older Americans Month.  A guided discussion will follow each showing. 

“A major concern for all of us is the meaning of our life” said Aaron Van Valkenburg, manager of Pierce County Aging and Long Term Care.  “Talking about what matters most to patients and families facing difficult treatment decisions before a medical crisis is so very important.  We hope this documentary may be a beginning for many individuals and families.”

While the author of the book is a practicing surgeon and is concerned with how medicine is sometimes misused, most of the book explores how medicine can comfort and enhance the lives of individual patients as well as how the entire health care system can give meaning to the lives of elderly patients in their final days.

Showings are scheduled for:

  • May 2 – 2:00 p.m. at the Tillicum Branch Library, 14916 Washington Ave SW, Lakewood
  • May 6 – 1:00 p.m. at the Summit Branch Library, 5107 112th St E, Tacoma
  • May 10 – 7:00 p.m. at the University Place Branch Library, 3609 Market Pl. W., Suite 100, UP
  • May 13 – 2:00 p.m. at the South Hill Branch Library, 15420 Meridian E., South Hill
  • May 15 – 4:30 p.m. at the Lakewood Branch Library, 6300 Wildaire Rd SW, Lakewood
  • May 18 – 10:00 a.m. at the Key Center Branch Library, 8905 Key Peninsula Hwy N, Lakebay
  • May 22 – 7:00 p.m. at the Gig Harbor Branch Library, 4424 Pt Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor

Following each showing, the audience will have the opportunity to continue a guided discussion lead by professional staff from Franciscan Hospice.  The discussion may range from the role of physicians, medicine and long term care facilities to personal considerations about giving meaning to life in one’s final days.  Audience members will also be invited to raise their own thoughts, experiences and concerns.

Each documentary showing is free and open to the public.  No RSVP is required.  For more information about the presentations, call the Pierce County Aging and Disability Resource Center at (253) 798-4600 or (800) 562-0332.