Seniors discuss changing issues of mortality

One hundred years ago most people were born at home and died at home. One in four children died before their first birthday

Dr. Bob Mackenzie speaks about 'Being Mortal' during a luncheon meeting hosted by Wells Gray Seniors Society recently.

Dr. Bob Mackenzie speaks about 'Being Mortal' during a luncheon meeting hosted by Wells Gray Seniors Society recently.

Sandra Holmes

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, Wells Gray Seniors Society offered its first Lunch program of the year.

Forty-seven seniors enjoyed an informative talk entitled “Being Mortal” given by retired physician Dr. Bob Mackenzie. The talk was an overview of a course Mackenzie teaches to students at Clearwater Secondary School.

Mackenzie reminded us about the many changes in society over the last 100 years. One hundred years ago, life expectancy was about 50 years and today it is about 81 years.

One hundred years ago most people were born at home and died at home. One in four children died before their first birthday and maternal mortality was high. Death was often swift and painful.

People were acquainted with death. By 1950 half the deaths were in hospital and by 1994, 88 per cent of deaths were in hospital. Death became prolonged as heroic measures were often employed to save lives.

Recently, the number of deaths in the hospital has started to decrease as people are making their end of life care wishes known.

The retired physician went on to explain various end of life scenarios of people suffering from chronic disease.

Moral and ethical issues around end of life care were discussed.

On every aspect of this discussion, Mackenzie stressed the importance of having a conversation with your friends and family around your wishes for your end of life care.

A national initiative called Advance Care Planning offers guidance and forms to help people work through this difficult and important process.

The guide and forms can be found at

For those unsure of computer use, the forms can be found in the Seniors Room at Dutch Lake Community Centre.

Following Mackenzie’s talk, councillor Barry Banford explained his area of expertise on the District of Clearwater council and gave a short presentation about some of the District’s initiatives around supporting seniors in the community.


WGCSS’ next luncheon will be held at the Elk’s Hall on Feb. 14 starting at 10:30. All are welcome.



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