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- Write Your Own Obituary May 6, 2020 - When Susan deLarios’s mother passed away, she had to scramble to finish the obituary before the funeral. By contrast, when her father died a few years earlier, his obituary was already done—he had written it himself. Given how much easier…
- Is Suicide Ever Simply a Rational Choice? February 25, 2020 - Ten residents slipped away from their retirement community one Sunday afternoon for a covert meeting in a grocery store cafe. They aimed to answer a taboo question: When they feel they have lived long enough, how can they carry out their own swift and peaceful death?
- Lethal Plans: Suicides in Long Term Care Facilities October 8, 2019 - When Larry Anders moved into the Bay at Burlington nursing home in late 2017, he wasn’t supposed to be there long. At 77, the stoic Wisconsin machinist had just endured the death of his wife of 51 years and a grim new diagnosis: throat cancer, stage 4.
- At Death’s Door, Shedding Light on How to Live December 19, 2018 - Nothing so alters a person as learning you have a terminal illness.
Ronni Bennett, who writes a popular blog about aging, discovered that recently when she heard that cancer had metastasized to her lungs and her peritoneum (a membrane that lines the cavity of the abdomen).
- When the Time Comes, Will Your Living Will Prevail? June 21, 2018 - It’s all too easy for medical providers to misinterpret living wills and other end-of-life instructions. In a disturbing report, Judith Graham, a contributing columnist for Kaiser Health News (KHN), covers recent studies that have revealed problems. KHN posted her article…
- They’re Not Well and They’re All Alone March 11, 2018 - Phyllis Krantzman knows what she should do, but like many of her peers, the 71-year-old doesn’t know how to approach a casual acquaintance to ask who will take care of her when she needs it most.
- How to Deal with Your Digital Afterlife January 10, 2018 - Sara Ivey, 63, calls it one of the few gifts of cancer: time to plan. When her husband, Jerald Sluder, was diagnosed with advanced melanoma, the Dallas couple had time to organize his affairs before his death in December 2016…
- Grieving Has Changed: Today People Do It Publicly—Online April 4, 2017 - These days when a loved one dies, we don’t stop clocks and don black for months. There is no sackcloth.
- If Assisted Suicide Is Legalized, Is That Really Good for the Dying? April 4, 2017 - Last spring, everything changed for Matt Larson. “One day I was fine. The next I was being rushed by ambulance to Denver Health following two very massive and violent seizures,” said Larson.
- Holding Stories in Their Hands April 4, 2017 - Thelma is 97. “Did you know I used to be a bartender?” she asks photographer Elaine Zelker.
- Is Medical Marijuana Good Medicine for Older Adults? It’s Complicated April 4, 2017 - After Jane broke her ankle, walking even short distances was a painful challenge. The 63-year-old had been an avid hiker and gardener and was stifled by her limited mobility. To make matters worse, she couldn’t tolerate the side effects of prescription painkillers.
- The Struggle over Medical Decisions at the End of Life March 28, 2017 - When retired professor Jeffrey Butler suffered a stroke at age 79, the prevailing concept of “the best medicine” kicked in to save him. He survived, though unable to complete full sentences. During stroke rehab, he developed a painful intestinal hernia. To qualify for the surgery recommended to repair it, a cardiac exam was ordered. When it showed a slow heartbeat, a pacemaker was urged.
- Death Cafes Are All about Life March 28, 2017 - Death comes to all. But heaven forbid it be mentioned.
Certainly not over tea and cake.
- At the Mercy of Strangers March 28, 2017 - In a culture that values independence above all, many are terrified of growing dependent on the care of others. What could bring dignity and even meaning to the frailty we may face at the ends of our lives?
- Ellen Goodman: It’s Time to Talk about Death March 27, 2017 - The first glimmer of Ellen Goodman’s vision for the Conversation Project started with a suitcase.
When she was 25, Goodman went home to visit her family. Her father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and would pass away three months later. Her mother had just given him a gift: a brand new suitcase.
- What’s More Effective at the End of Life Than a Living Will? March 4, 2017 - For many of us, having a signed, notarized advance directive or living will engenders a sense of security. Once our medical wishes are set down in black and white, we feel confident they will be honored if we become incapacitated.…