Begin the New Year by Thinking about the End



Begin the New Year by Thinking about the End was a program series focusing on the practical aspects that surround the end of life.

We offered four sessions: Beginning the Conversation, Affordable Funeral Planning, Financial Planning and Making Sure Everything Is Legal. The programs were held on Saturdays in January.

Advanced Planning

The end of life comes with a host of associated practicalities. We wanted to use the motivation many people feel in January to tackle a significant subject. We hoped that the series would be a catalyst for people to start difficult conversations with family and also to think about and record their wishes.

We started with the Department of Senior Affairs to get their input on the most pressing topics and for suggestions on presenters. Selecting the topics, finding and narrowing down potential presenters, and working out the details took a few months.

One of the most unexpected aspects was how eager everyone in the industry is to talk about these issues and also their services. Keeping everything informational and commercial-free was more of a challenge than in many of the other programs.

The list of presenters included the following:

  • Hospice nurse
  • Social worker
  • Chaplain
  • Local author who is an industry consultant
  • State Attorney Generalโ€™s representative
  • Representative who talked about advanced medical directives
  • Elder law attorney


We marketed using in-house fliers, our electronic monthly newsletter, word of mouth and a display in the branch. We also distributed fliers to the seven presenters, who then used their network of contacts and social media to market the event. We also took the flier to the local senior center and nearby businesses.


The programming budget is small and did not extend to compensating the presenters. All of them graciously donated their time.

Day-of-event Activity

Set-up was simple: setting up chairs for attendees and a table at the front for presenters. One staff member was sufficient for the set-up and take-down.

Program Execution

We had a total of 119 attendees over the four weeks. Attendance for each session was double that of previous adult programs, and we received positive feedback. Responses were collected in the form of comment cards. Several customers came to multiple sessions and said they appreciated the information presented.

We also received a number of calls expressing interest in a repeat of the series, either at Cherry Hills or elsewhere in the city. We felt the program was a success and notable in that we received no complaints. 


We were prepared to have customers who were upset that we were presenting a series about death; we even thought it was possible that no one would attend. They not only showed up, they brought their family members.

While we expected backlash, we were pleased to receive encouraging feedback on how important the topic was and how they wanted to see more.

Supporting Materials