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 …
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
Steven Colbert’s Amazing Remembrance of Mom
Stephen Colbert took a few minutes, at the beginning of his June 19, 2013 program, share and remember his mother, Lorna, who died last week in her nineties. Well worth watching. The video is courtesy of Hulu via Upworthy.
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
Senator McGovern in Hospice Care
Hospice offers so many options and opportunities to families. This Associated Press article appeared in today’s Washington Post (10-16-2012). It is worth reading.
Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses Loom Large Despite Medicare
Adult children who help aging parents should check out the Washington Post article At End of Life, Medicare Beneficiaries Spend Thousands Out-of-Pocket. Reporter Sarah Kliff explains that a recent study, Out of Pocket Spending in the Last Five Years of Life (abstract), published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, examined the amount of money that aging … Continue reading
Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Dementia
Adult children and their parents who are inveterate readers of fiction, especially prize-winning fiction, may want to read two posts at VOXXI (Hispanic Voice of the 21st Century) about Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The two posts are related and inter-connected, examining the tragedy of a great Nobel prize-winning writer who begins to suffer from memory problems, … 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
A Daugher’s Long Goodbye: A Book Review by Mom and Me
When my mom picked up A Daughter’s Long Goodbye: Caring for Mother at the church library, she brought it home and quickly read it cover to cover. Then she suggested that I read it — well actually she instructed me to do so. Caring for Mother, written in 2007, is not easy reading. Virginia Stem … Continue reading
Jane Gross on NPR’s Tell Me More
If you missed the Michel Martin’s Tell Me More on Monday, January 23, 2012, head over to the program’s website to hear Jane Gross talk about her book, A Bittersweet Season: Caring For Our Aging Parents and Ourselves. Her conversation covered a broad range of aging parent-adult child topics including Medicare, financial problems, end-of life issues, … 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
Eleanor Clift Writes About Hospice
Journalist Eleanor Clift has written a superb article in the August 2011 publication Health Affairs about the hospice experience of her husband, journalist Tony Brazaitis, in the months before he died of cancer. It’s freely available and filled with astute observations and information — a good read for anyone, but especially for families who may have to … 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