BMO Private Bank Invites Be@Ease to Share Information

BMO Private Bank in Barrington, invited Be@Ease to share information to staff about the importance of having an advance directive.  Staff were encouraged to complete their own plans, that will provide direction of their healthcare wishes to loved ones if they are unable to speak for themselves, and share this important information with clients.  Be@Ease encourages anyone over the age of 18 to have an advance directive.  This is a wonderful gift we can give to our families.

BMO presentation

Be@Ease Presents to the Barrington Area Community Foundation

A special thank you to the Barrington Area Community Foundation for inviting Be@Ease to present at it’s board meeting in December, 2015.  Members of the board provided their support by connecting Be@Ease with other non-profit organizations, as well as scheduling presentations for staff within their companies.  Networking is so helpful in providing new opportunities for Be@Ease to share advance care planning information.

Barrington Area Community Foundation






Additional presentations are being scheduled.  We appreciate the continued support from Barrington businesses and non-profit organizations.  Thank you!

Barrington Library Offers Be@Ease Workshops

To receive information about advance care planning  or ask questions about completing your Five Wishes, workshops will be available at the Barrington Library.  Meetings have been scheduled in the Zimmerman Room (side B) on:

  • Thursday, September 17th (10am – noon)
  • Wednesday, November 11th (2pm – 4pm)
  • Tuesday, December 8th (7pm – 8pm)

JourneyCare CEO Featured in TEDx Event


Sarah Bealles, JourneyCare’s President and CEO, was a featured speaker for the Barrington Area Library’s first-ever TEDx event on October 1, 2015.

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading” and supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community. TEDx focuses on Technology, Education/Entertainment and Design to tie together local ideas on a broad range of issues.

Bealles’ talk, “Living is More Than Not Being Dead,” focused on the importance of end-of-life conversations and planning.

To view the video of the TEDx Talk, click HERE.

Be@Ease Partners with Local Association to Launch Educational Campaign

Communities across the country are launching programs to educate and encourage neighbors and friends to complete advance care plans.  Advance directives allow people to Arlington Heights Photodocument what healthcare treatments they would want if they are unable to speak for themselves.

In April, 10 churches in Arlington Heights, Ill., gave 11 presentations on advance care planning to more than 270 residents in the community.  Using the materials developed by Be@Ease, the Arlington Heights Ministerial Association educated residents on the importance of having an advance care plan.  A copy of Five Wishes – a form that can be used to document advance care plans was also given to all attendees. The events were promoted in local newspapers to encourage all residents of the community to attend.

Having conversations with family and loved ones about advance care planning is gaining momentum.  National Healthcare Decisions Day celebrated its ninth anniversary on April 16.  The day exists to inspire, educate and empower the pubic and providers about the importance of advance care planning.  The goal of the initiative is to encourage patients to express their wishes regarding healthcare and for providers and facilities to respect those wishes, whatever they may be.

If you are interested in launching an advance care planning program in your community, please visit  The tools and resources are available free of charge.  The goal of Be@Ease is to encourage anyone 18+ to think about their wishes, put them in writing and share them with others If you would like more information on advance care planning, please contact Rachael Telleen at or (312) 912-2678.

Be@Ease and Clergy Help Bring Peace to Families in Times of Crisis

If on your way to work this morning you were injured in a terrible accident and doctors weren’t sure you would survive, would your family members know how to honor your final wishes?

According to a recent survey by the California Health Foundation, 60 percent of respondents said it was extremely important that their family not be burdened in making tough decisions about their care. However, 56 percent of respondents had not discussed their wishes.

Arlington Heights Ministerial Association has joined the Be@Ease campaign to help residents learn to talk about advance care plans so that if an emergency situation ever does arise, families are prepared.

Besides getting the conversation started, the Be@Ease campaign also provides access to Five Wishes©, a nationally recognized document that allows anyone 18 and older to share their wishes about the end of life.  Once completed, the Five Wishes document is valid under the laws of 42 states, including Illinois.

Five Wishes ask people to discuss:

1.  The person I want to make care decisions for me when I can’t
2.  The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t want
3.  How comfortable I want to be
4.  How I want people to treat me
5.  What I want my loved ones to know

Lynndah Easterwood Lahey, Executive Director, Escorted Transportation Service Northwest, supports the Arlington Heights Ministerial Association in its pursuit and promotion of the Five Wishes program.  “We know it will make an impact on many individuals in the community,” she explained. ” As a nonprofit organization that provides volunteer-based transportation for our community’s seniors to their medical appointments, we will spread the word to our 300+ senior passengers.”

The Arlington Heights Ministerial Association, whose leaders often are called to guide a family through times of crisis, will be hosting 11 free seminars during Five Wishes Week, April 11-18 and April 25, to provide convenient opportunities and locations for residents to engage in conversation.

St. John UCC
10 a.m.7 p.m.
Quest Church
7 p.m.
St. James Parish
10 a.m.
First Presbyterian Church
6 p.m.
First United Methodist
7 p.m.
St. Simon's Episcopal
Southminister Presbyterian
4 p.m.
Congregational UCC
10 a.m.
St. Peter Lutheran (a.m.)
10 a.m.
St. Peter Lutheran (p.m.)
2 p.m.





June 25, 2014 Be@Ease Featured on Chicago Comcast Cable Program

An interview with Be@Ease Program Director, Syl Boeder and Program Benefactor, Bob Lee will be aired on Chicago Comcast Cable Channel 19 (CAN TV) during the next three days beginning June 25 at 9 pm, June 26 at 4 pm, and June 27 at 6:wordpresssux30 pm CST. Tune in and learn about the impetus behind and the development of Be@Ease. Be@Ease exists as a website whose purpose is to provide community leaders around the world with the tools needed to organize and conduct advance directive awareness campaigns of their own. Resources on the website include videos, sample presentations, letters and documents to assist communities in bringing attention and action to this  important issue.

In addition to community organizing resources, Be@Ease provides guidance in walking individuals through the process of thinking about and documenting their end-of-life wishes by providing access to Aging with Dignity’s Five Wishes Advance Directive planning document.



Advance Directives Allows Family to Truly “Be At Ease”

Part of my job as a chaplain is to visit patients in the hospital. During a recent round I came upon Emil (not his real name), who was recovering from surgery to repair multiple injuries sustained as a result of a serious car accident.

Over the course of several days, he rebuffed attempts to talk about whether he wanted to complete an advance directive for his medical record with the hospital. “God will tell me when I need one” was his response. I would then shift topic and we would talk sports, or whatever else he was interested in sharing. His wife happened to be there on the last of these conversations.  She intervened to say she wanted him to have one, so she would know what to do in case something ever happened to him. After further resistance, I asked him why he was fighting the need to complete an advance directive.

Only then did he reveal that he had been his father’s healthcare agent and six months prior to his accident, he had had to fulfill his father’s wishes and “pull the plug”. In his mind he had killed his father and he didn’t want to burden his wife with that same kind of decision. This was a struggle he had not even been able to share with his wife. I stayed with him for a while, and told him that what he had shown was the greatest love and respect by fulfilling his father’s wish, and his responsibility as his father’s health care agent.

Later that day, his wife stopped to tell me that both she and her husband had completed their advance directives. The next time I saw them, the tension between them and within Emil himself had evaporated. They had achieved the peace of mind that only advance care planning can bring. They were “At Ease”.

Don Andler, Chaplain
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Barrington, IL

My Dad Made it Easy

My father died at the end of May, 2013 at the age of 95.   He lived a life that took him to all the places he wanted to go, and do all the things he wanted to do. It was a very peaceful death for all of us.  He had thought through what he wanted at the end of his life, and how he wanted to die.  I would like to share our family story, and how this came to be.

In my parent’s early 60’s, my mom and dad wrote their will, Power of Attorney and Power of Attorney for Healthcare.  At the time there wasn’t much information about leaving instructions to your children on the care you wanted, or how you wanted to live the last weeks or days of your life. However, my mother had seen a letter in the newspaper which had been written by a parent to his/her children about this very topic.  My mother copied the letter on her typewriter, edited it to fit her situation, signed it, had it notarized and included it with her will. Dad copied the same letter and put it in with his will.

After Mom died at 87, we realized how important that paper had been in helping us fulfill Mom’s last wishes.  Mom had a sudden stroke and could not talk or communicate.  Her stroke came as a surprise, and we weren’t thinking clearly.  However, Mom had told us what she wanted in case something like this happened.  It was a comfort to all of us that Mom had shared this, because we did not have to guess at this difficult time.

On Thanksgiving Day in 2011, six years after Mom died, I came to the dreaded conclusion that Dad could no longer take care of himself in the home that he and Mom had built together.  Dad was not taking his medicine, was eating only one meal a day, and was unable to keep his house clean.  Dad lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and did not want to leave the place where he had so many friends.  My brothers and I lived in Illinois and Massachusetts.

We realized we needed to find a new place for dad, and the house was put up for sale.  His possessions were sold or distributed amongst children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  We found a great place for dad to live – it was beautiful and the people caring for him were wonderful.  We all felt much better.  I became the Executor of his Estate, and managed everything from Illinois.

Eight years after my mom died, my dad passed away peacefully in his bed at the assisted living home.  The beauty of it was that dad and I had talked so much  since Mom died that I really understood what he wanted and was able to fulfill his wishes.  What’s even more special was that my brothers and I did not have one argument about anything related to caring for Dad, or his estate and its distribution because he had clearly outlined everything along the way.

As the Executor, I did not wonder about what I should or should not do. However, there were times I did doubt whether or not there was more I could do for him –  I would then go back to the documents he had written and everything would become clear again.

I know first hand how special this was. I am a Clinical Psychologist and have had many people come to me because of family conflict around caring for someone at end-of-life and the confusion and pain it can cause when people disagree about medical and estate matters. I am so very grateful for what Mom and Dad did for us in their last hours on this planet.  It created a great sense of peace amongst the four siblings as we moved forward because our parents had advance directives in place.

I have already completed my advance directives and shared them with my children. Have you completed this very important communication with those you love and who love you?

Dr. Barbara Grace, PhD, Psychologist, Family Therapist, End of Life Coach, Spiritual Advisor
Barrington Resident 45 years

Experience Gave Me the Courage to Begin Talking to My Dad

Four years ago my mother died from cancer. During her illness, we gathered as a family and talked about what was important to her and how she wanted care to proceed during her final days. At the time we didn’t have the benefit of any kind of guiding document to help us, but she was clear in her conversations, and we were able to fulfill her wishes at her death.

My father is 82 years old, and although he is in very good health, I know things could suddenly change. Through my work, I was made aware of the Be@Ease campaign and was introduced to the Five Wishes advance directive planning tool. After reading the document, I realized I needed to have a conversation with my Dad and begin the process of having him complete one for himself. Over the Christmas holiday I found the courage to broach the topic of completing his advance directives. I explained to him that I didn’t want to talk about his estate or the inevitability of his death, but I did want to have the same comfort we experienced with my mother’s death. He surprised me by admitting to feeling the same way – not wanting to talk about his death, but relieved to be able to start sharing with family his thoughts and desires for his final days.

My experience with my own Dad spurred me to invite members of Be@Ease to come and present to my friends and colleagues. I know many us have parents who are aging, and this is an issue we all need to address within our families. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the resources provided through the Be@Ease website to help in addressing this important issue.

Alexandra Bernardi
North Barrington