Out of the Box Thinking to Engage the Community in Advance Care Planning

Would you attend a comedy event about death and dying? Or would you go to a bar and create your own death toast? If you answered yes, you are not alone. Hundreds of people have attended these events and more in a new initiative lead by Justin Magnuson and his friends in Louisville to engage the community in advance care planning.

Justin and his partners at Living Fully Louisville took it to a new level, creating a month long series of community events called the Before I Die Festival. This included locally sponsored events almost every night throughout the city. The events mixed the serious with the fun which included poetry readings, drink to your death toasts at a local bar, a comedy night, and talks by authors and religious leaders. This month long initiative culminated with a daylong conference hosted by the University of Louisville.

The festival was a real community effort sponsored by over a dozen local organizations ranging from hospice centers, elder law firms, AARP, community hospitals, and even a game shop and yoga center. You can view the Lousiville Resource Guide to see all the sponsors and information here.

Thousands of people in Louisville attended the events and with the extensive radio and TV coverage they reached tens of thousands of people in the region. Plans are now underway for an even bigger event next year.

It is amazing how many people in the community care about advance care planning and just need a catalyst like Justin to spring into action. Congratulations to him and the team on such a creative approach and a successful event.