Sometimes, the questions we should ask are the most difficult to actually ask. So, how do you break past those barriers to seek the answers to those important questions? Better yet, how do you do so in a way that leaves people feeling a little lighter, even after dealing with heavy issues?
That’s a problem that the Griswold Home Care team wanted to address. Recently, Griswold played host to an event designed to demystify the difficult questions families and caregivers often have around life, death, and the areas in between. Special guest Jethro Heiko, co-founder and CEO of Common Practice, visited Griswold’s Plymouth Meeting headquarters and lead the team through an innovative game called Hello! The Conversation Game for Living Well.
As explained by Heiko himself, the game is “focused on making great conversations in healthcare and beyond” and encourages people to ask questions geared to creating advanced directives and making loved ones aware of their needs if they were unable to care for themselves.
Throughout the event, the Griswold home office team splintered off into groups of four, taking turns asking questions designed to get to know other players, and gaining new insights about themselves and each other. The event was broadcast live on Facebook with over 658 people following along and watching participants play — and hopefully, taking away some tips for opening the floor to more honest discussions with loved ones and having some fun in the process.
Playing the Game
As demonstrated by Heiko, the Hello! Game is relatively simple to play. Each group of four “players” come together at a table and make their way through a series of 32 questions in the span of an hour. The questions are asked in order and there is no pressure to get through all 32 of them.
Players take turns reading the questions out loud and then write down their response, answering each question as they interpret it. Then, each player has a turn reading their answer aloud to the rest of the table.
One of the key components to the Hello! Game are gratitude chips — small tokens awarded to players for great answers. Heiko stressed that players can always pass on answering a question and don’t always have to share, saying that, “sometimes it’s more courageous not to share.”
Some of the questions asked throughout the course of the game included:
- Write your epitaph in 5 words or less.
- What would your last meal be and who would it be with?
- What is something you regret not sharing with a loved one who passed away?
- If you needed help going to the bathroom today, who is the first person you would ask to help you? Who would you never be able to ask?
- What are non-medical facts your doctor should know about you?
Everybody Wins: Real Questions, Real Answers
Watching the team tackle the questions posed by The Hello! Game, it was immediately apparent that these groups of colleagues were having fun and learning a lot about each other. It can be difficult to break down barriers between a professional persona we adopt at work and sharing a more personal, more vulnerable side with people we see even on a day-to-day basis.
One of the key lessons learned is that, if you can open up to strangers and answer questions you might not normally ask or give real thought to, then you should be able to more easily open up your loved ones at home.
Answering tough questions and having serious conversations doesn’t have to be a weighty subject. If approached in the right way, you just might be able to laugh at some of the things that scare you and find comfort in knowing more about people in your life and what puts them more at ease.
Death and dying are part of life. But it’s not the only part of life. Shining a light on the darker aspects of life can help you more fully enjoy living and sharing life (and laughs) with the people who make it worth living.
What are some of the more difficult questions you’ve had to ask loved ones? What prompted those conversations? How did you feel after getting answers to your questions? We’d love for you to share your experiences with us in the comments below.