Shepherd’s Cove Hospice will be hosting free screenings of the PBS program “Being Mortal” on March 22 at 11:30 a.m. in our community room (located at 408 Martling Road in Albertville) and on March 29 at 11:30 a.m. at the Gadsden Senior Center (located at 623 Broad Street in Gadsden).  This film offers an opportunity for us, as a community, to explore the question, “Have you and your family had the tough conversations and planned ahead?”

In “Being Mortal,” FRONTLINE follows renowned New Yorker writer and Boston surgeon Atul Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients who are near the end of life.  In conjunction with Gawande’s new book, Being Mortal, the film investigates the practice of caring for the dying and delves into the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness. In the film, Dr. Atul Gawande shares stories from the people and families he encounters.

When Dr. Gawande’s own father gets cancer, his search for answers about how to best care for the dying becomes a personal quest.  The documentary tells his story, as he is learning to think about death and dying in the context of being a healer. By sharing stories from the perspective of both physicians and the people and families he encounters, including his own, the documentary sheds new light on how our system – so often focused on a cure – neglects the important conversations that need to happen so that a person’s true priorities can be known and honored at the end.

The Hospice Foundation of America stated, “The stories in Being Mortal show us the value of shared decision making in medicine at the end of life and illustrate the importance of thinking and planning ahead as we reflect on what matters to us most. The stories further reveal the human side of physicians, whose own vulnerabilities, fears and lack of training may impede timely and open discussions with patients.”

After the screening, you will have an opportunity to participate in a guided conversation on how to take concrete steps to identify and communicate wishes about end-of-life goals and preferences. Lunch will be provided for the first 50 people to register, courtesy of sponsor Howard Bentley.  Members of the Shepherd’s Cove Hospice Planned Giving Council will also be on hand until 3:30 that afternoon for one-on-one consultations.

See this moving documentary, join the conversation, and explore what matters to you. RSVP by contacting Malarie Allen at 256-891-7724 or

All are welcome. We hope to see you there!