Too many of these stories are about not talking about wishes until it was too late. Too many people are dying in a way they wouldn’t choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.
Ellen Goodman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Boston Globe, wants to change this. She has started a non-profit called The Conversation Project. She feels that it’s time to transform our culture so we shift from not talking about dying to talking about it. It’s time to share the way we want to live at the end of our lives. And it’s time to communicate about the kind of care we want and don’t want for ourselves. She believes that the place for this to begin is at the kitchen table—not in the intensive care unit—with the people we love, before it’s too late. Listen to her speak.
Consider this: According to a 2012 Survey of Californians by the California HealthCare Foundation, 60% of people say that making sure their family is not burdened by tough decisions is “extremely important” and yet 56% have not communicated their end-of-life wishes. One conversation can make all the difference.
We have several good books in the library’s collection:The Best Care Possible: A physician’s quest to transform care through the end of life by Ira Byock and My mother your mother: embracing “slow medicine,” the compassionate approach to caring for your aging loved ones by Dennis McCullough, M.D.