Self-Reflection: Conversations with Oneself

  There are times when the best person to talk with is the one in the mirror. At a deep level, if we’re willing to be honest with ourselves and to ask for guidance, I believe that we can intuit exactly what we’re up against, even in the face of great uncertainty. Then our innate wisdom can point the way. … Read More

Lessons from The Voluntary Suspension of Eating and Drinking (VSED)

  WHEN ADVANCED ILLNESS BECOMES A RELENTLESS MEDICAL BATTLE, more patients – exhausted by the process and ready to surrender, are asking, “what can you give me to help me die?” Useful replies: “Help me understand what you’re going through, that’s led you to want to die?” “We’ll do everything we can to address and ease your suffering.” “If you’re … Read More

The Voluntary Suspension of Eating and Drinking (VSED)

  “I’ve lived a wonderful life, but it must end sometime, and this is the right time for me. My decision is not about whether I’m going to die—we will all die sooner or later. My decision is about when and how. I don’t want to spoil the wonder of my life by dragging it out in decay… Help me … Read More

Let It Not Be a Secret

  THERE ARE TIMES WHEN DYING GOES AS SMOOTHLY AS ONE COULD HOPE. It was this way for my friend, Margie. She would be delighted to know that her story was being told. I met Margie late in her life through a family friendship. She had the good fortune to afford living in an exclusive continuing care community on the … Read More

Initiating The Conversation – At Home and in Your Community

   We Know How! – Here’s a Successful Model Want to learn to initiate The Conversation? Look no further than La Crosse, Wisconsin, and their nationally and internationally acclaimed program, Respecting Choices. Through the Gunderson Health System, a team led by Bernard “Bud” Hammes, PhD, and later joined by Linda Briggs, MS, MA, RN, set out to systematically organize a … Read More

Together We’re Transforming End of Life Care

  A monumental transformation is occurring. In this country and across the globe, people increasingly have an alternative to withering in old age homes and dying in hospitals — and millions of them are seizing the opportunity. But this is an unsettled time. We’ve begun rejecting the institutionalized version of aging and death, but we’ve not yet established our new … Read More

Family Caregivers Hold the Key

A Staggering Fact AN ESTIMATED FIFTY-THREE MILLION AMERICANS, one out of every four people over the age of eighteen, are now providing care or assistance to a friend or family member, the majority without pay.1 In the coming years, as the wave of aging Baby Boomers crests, a Silver Tsunami will raise this astounding number even higher. Yet amidst the … Read More

Family Caregiving

  “The best we can hope for in preparing a loved one for a good death, if there is such a thing, is to strengthen whatever sense of control he or she can retain over this most personal of passages…The most emotionally wrenching task for each family member is to find one’s own way to let go…We are the ones … Read More

Easing Fear and Anguish at End of Life

Our Mortal Fear of Death It’s only natural to fear the end of life and the great unknown. It’s in us. Yet so is acceptance. If you’ve completed an Advance Directive, then well done. You’re in the minority. If you haven’t, please be honest with yourself. Why not? What would need to change or take place to move in that … Read More

The Importance of “Code Status”

  Surrounding the end of life, two simple words will guide our care. It’s essential to understand why our Code Status has such decisive authority – and then to talk about it. “What Exactly is Code Status?” When either our heart or breathing stops, which back in the day was called “death,” our Code Status is the ultimate authority in … Read More