What’s a good death?
This is not something comfortable to ask, must less think about. When it comes to death, most of us like to put our heads in the sand. And that’s true whether it’s addressing our own or for a close family member.
Death is certain for all of us. The only variable is when. And unfortunately for some, the likelihood is nearing the short term given age or chronic health.
However, it’s important, if not imperative, that we learn more about death and what constitutes a “good death” and how to put a plan into place.
My dad’s health has been in decline and I’ve been reading up on the topic. A friend of ours, Dr. Jessica Zitter, wrote a pivotal book called Extreme Measures: Finding a Better Path to the End of Life, which provided me with a basic course on the questions and issues to consider. It opened up my eyes and introduced me to a whole new world, which she calls “the end-of-life conveyor belt.”
The statistics are mind-blowing:
- 50% die in pain
- 70% die in institutions
- 30% of families lose most of their life savings for care
Dr. Zitter focuses on comfort instead of resuscitating at all costs. She forces us to think about which path is best and at what point to call it quits, or direct others when we can no longer speak for ourselves. She introduces us to the options, legal directives and questions to ask the doctors. We also learn about the new field of palliative care and how to do the “end of life conversation,” we dread so much.
I encourage you to learn the details by joining me in my latest podcast interview with Dr. Jessica Zitter.
To death with dignity and comfort – but hopefully many many decades away.