Community-wide health promotion and engagement frameworks improve the health of marginalized and vulnerable communities particularly at the end of life.
Founded in 2017, Leaves Speak was inspired by Dr. Maurya Cockrell’s personal and professional experience as a death doula, spiritual care generalist and her education in health management and medical ethics. Leaves Speak aims to provide caregiver interpersonal skills training, community-wide health promotion, and health care experience at individual, community and global levels to bridge the divide between generations in health care settings and reduce elderspeak.
The organization has three areas of focus 1. Intergenerational health care collaboration, 2. Disrupting ageism, and 3. Grief walking. It partners with IAP Career College’s Death Doula program in Calgary and the Willow EoL Educator in Vancouver, to provide aspiring doulas with training on business development, one to one client care, and death education.
Leaves Speak has developed Pathways to Elderhood to dispel ageism through a hands-on hybrid, intergenerational learning approach that focuses on the realities of aging, bringing awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the aging process to younger adults. Courses include content on intergenerational relationships, ageism and elderspeak, having a positive aging mindset and the social determinants of health and aging.
The organization also offers an Elder Doula Program, which trains everyday caregivers and health care professionals to provide doula support to older adult clients. (Death Doulas provide care coordination, closure work, legacy coaching, and funeral planning). The program provides tools and addresses aspects of delivering non-medical emotional, social and spiritual support to older adults. Leaves Speaks’ signature program, Community Grief Walker, trains trusted community members to provide non-medical end-of-life support to under-resourced populations.