I’ve attended two farewell cocktail parties in the past two years, both scheduled as a substitute for aging parent funerals. Another friend invited everyone to a ballgame to celebrate a parent’s life with a memorial picnic afterward. And most recently I attended an engaging theatre production to honor a deceased friend. While some of these … Continue reading
Filed under end of life decisions …
Jane Gross Lecture on Caregiving and Her Family
Last fall Jane Gross, journalist and author of A Bittersweet Season, spoke about her experiences supporting and caring for her elderly mother. The presentation at Brethren Village, a retirement community in Lancaster, PA, shares observations, experiences, things she wishes she had done, and much more.
Famed Clinicians: Prepared but Not Ready for Death
When we think about dying, about the end of our lives, we may look to the experts for guidance — to those people who have long experience with various aspects of aging and the medical issues that complicate the process of dying. We assume that these people have their own end of life details all worked … Continue reading
Oliver Sacks’ Perspective on the End of His Life
The direction of every life can change in a moment. We learn this as we age and also as we support elder parents. In his February 19, 2015, New York Times’ opinion piece, My Own Life, Dr. Oliver Sacks illustrates how fast things can change. If you missed his article, it’s a stirring description of what it’s like to … Continue reading
End of Life Choices
In June 2010 I read a chilling New York Times Magazine article, What Broke My Father’s Heart, by Katy Butler, who described how her father’s heart outlived his brain because a pacemaker kept chugging along. It kept going despite that the rest of his body, due to dementia, was giving up and shutting down. Butler … Continue reading
Why is Hospice Still A Tough Call–Even for People Who Know?
When a person is approaching the end of life, we can find no easy answers, no solution that fits every person’s or family’s situation, even when they know a lot about the options available to them. To illustrate this you will want to read For Hospice Pioneer, Still a Tough Call, by Paula Span at … Continue reading
Longer Old Age but Lower Quality Near the End?
A few days ago I added a must read link to Michael Wolff’s New York Magazine article, A Life Worth Ending. It’s an eye-opening piece, detailing long drawn-out decline of his mother. Check it out — it really is a must read. For our parents there are no easy end-of-life answers. Those of us with … Continue reading
Our Chance of Dying in Intensive Care – Peter Saul TED Talk
Australian intensive care physician, Peter Saul, recently presented a TED Talk about the increased chance of dying in intensive care in the 21st Century. He explains that one ten people will die in intensive care, but in the United States it is one in five and in Miami, three out of five. People who are … Continue reading
The Over-Medicalization of Aging
At what point, as we age, do we become accepting of aches and pains –aging that is — and stop thinking about rushing to a physician all of the time? How do we decide whether or not to fix a problem if it has more to do with the later years of our life than … Continue reading
New Health Care Directive Registry in Virginia
In case you missed this news on December 7, 2011, you may want to learn more about the new Virginia health care directive registry. It’s a free service. This article, Virginia Announces Free Online Health Care Registry, appeared on Richmond’s NBC News 12 site and explains more. The Virginia Department of Health, working in a … Continue reading
End-of-Life Documents — Don’t Mess Around
Many years ago, shortly after my daughter was born, my parents asked my husband and me about our will. It turned out, however, that they were less concerned about a will than they were about whether we had signed medical directives or health care proxies that defined what should be done is case one of us, … Continue reading
The Palliative Care Tent: How to Invite People In?
The Los Angeles Times published an October 24, 2011 article, The Promise and Pitfalls of Palliative Care, by Melissa Healy. In her article Healy describes how palliative care helps people who are very ill and need to manage everything from their pain to living their lives with quality. These programs also support families. The author also … Continue reading
Hospice Helps When a Parent With Dementia is Dying
Sometimes acquaintances describe how a hospice program entered the lives of an aging parent during the last week or even in the last few days of life. My husband and I are aware of just how much hospice offered to our family during the four months before his mother died. However, we have spoken with people — who … Continue reading
Washington Post Article on Hospice and Palliative Care
Today’s Washington Post features an article, Progress Needed on End of Life Care, by Janice Lynch Schuster, describing the urgent need for improvements to palliative and hospice care. The article describes the problems that still exist for many patients at the end of their lives who experience unnecessary suffering and pain. I’ve written about our … Continue reading
Over at the Inside Aging Parent blog, Carol recently posted Conversations About End of Life with a link to a BlogTalk radio program interviewing author Kelsey Collins (check out Collin’s videos presentations). I have just listened to the program so I recommend checking out Carol’s post and the radio interview. In her book Exit Strategy: Leaving this Life with … Continue reading
Check out the “Be the Noodle” Review
While I was intently focused on my Green House posts last week, Inside Aging Parent Care posted a terrific review of Be TheNoodle by Lois Kelly. What I love about this book is the noodle support metaphor. When the summer waters are rough in my beloved St. Lawrence River, a noodle is just the ticket … Continue reading
Hospice: More Days to Say “We Love You”
Thank you hospice. Since reading Dr. Atul Gwande’s New Yorker Magazine article, Letting Go, a piece that describes the end of life (see my recent posting about this article), I’ve been thinking a lot about our hospice experience with a program in Northern Virginia. For some time I’ve wanted to write about those four months, … Continue reading
End-of-Life Decisions: Article by Dr. Atul Gawande
Dr. Atul Gawande has done it again — writing another compelling and riveting article that everyone will be talking about in the coming weeks. It can be downloaded at The New Yorker website. In Letting Go, published in the August 2, 2010, issue of The New Yorker Magazine, he examines how people make end-of-life decisions and how … Continue reading
End-of-Life: Another Form!
In the July 18, 2010 New Old Age Blog Paula Span reports on yet another form we need to fill out if we want the most control at the end of our lives. Her article, A Final Prescription describes the POLST form, though the name may be different from state-to-state. A individual completes this form … Continue reading
Caregiving Orientation Publication
The Osher Center for integrative Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) has published an amazing book, Orientation to Caregiving: A Handbook for Family Caregivers of Patients with Serious Illness. This comprehensive, 68-page publication, aimed at families caring for a family member with a serious illness, is just as applicable to adult children who are … Continue reading