Category Archives: End-of-life issues

What’s on the other side? | “Can Robert Bigelow (and the Rest of Us) Survive Death?” – The New York Times

other side

“What’s across the River Styx? Robert Thomas Bigelow would like to know. Wouldn’t anyone, especially now? But Mr. Bigelow is not just anyone, or any 76-year-old mourning a wife and confronting his own mortality. He’s a maverick Las Vegas real estate and aerospace mogul with billionaire allure and the resources to fund his restless curiosity embracing outer and inner space, U.F.O.s and the spirit realm.

“Now he’s offering nearly $1 million in prizes for the best evidence for ‘the survival of consciousness after permanent bodily death.’

essay competition

“In other words, was Hamlet right to call death an inescapable boundary, ‘the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns?’ Or does consciousness in some form survive bodily death — what the Dalai Lama called how we merely ‘change our clothes’?

“Is Raymond Chandler’s Big Sleep only a nap?

“Mr. Bigelow believes so. ‘I am personally totally convinced of it,’ he said.”

Click here to read the New York Times article in its entirety.

Click here to be redirected to the Bigelow Institute for Conscious Studies. 

The next Death Cafe is slated for Monday, February 22 | You may register to attend now.

02222021 Death Cafe

You are invited to attend this FREE Death Cafe via ZOOM. Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpceuhqzsuGtP4CL-7TyXAYI9NqCmtSJNL

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

“Talking About Death Is Hard, but Some Groups Embrace It” – AARP

“Amid COVID-19 losses, death cafés provide supportive settings for discussions about mortality”

death cafe

by Robin L. Flanigan

“Death has never been easy to talk about in our culture, but COVID-19 has thrust the taboo subject into the spotlight.

“And some groups, called death cafés, are making it less fraught to discuss topics around dying, including fears, spirituality and ethics. With more than 400,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus, mortality is something that is on many people’s minds — whether they’re having a direct experience with it or not.

“With tea and cake or other treats, death cafés — in 73 countries and now mostly virtual — are open to anyone interested in delving into the issue of mortality. With no agendas, only unstructured conversation, their objective is to increase awareness of death in a supportive way while helping people make the most of their lives.”

Click here to continue reading this article at AARP.org.


The Berks-Lancaster-Lebanon Service Area of the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources has been hosting local Death Cafes for the past five years. Due to COVID-19, our Death Cafes have been held virtually via ZOOM for the past year.

The next Death Cafe is tonight — you can still register to come to tonight’s Death Cafe held in collaboration with the Exeter Community Library:

You are invited to a Zoom Death Cafe.
When: Jan 28, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMld-CpqDguE91tCwdVKhnLQ5_bCMTyUjJl

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Then in March, there’s another one that’s being held in collaboration with Lebanon County’s Age Wave Initiative’s Advance Care Planning Coalition. 

You are invited to a Zoom Death Cafe.
When: Mar 15, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcqc-ytqDooGtDOCNiObvO8EXSN_V0rqno1

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

“End-of-life care has boomed in California. So has fraud targeting older Americans” – The Los Angeles Times

hospice fraud“Ellie Craig Goldstein holds a pouch containing sentimental items from her brother, Peter Craig. Three years after Peter’s death, his sisters Ellie and Joyce Craig are haunted by the memory of his final hours.” – (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

b

“Martin Huff was 67 when he fell off his bicycle, banged up his knee and spent a couple of hours in a Riverside County emergency room before walking out under his own power.

“Ten days later he was in hospice care, diagnosed as terminally ill by a small Covina provider of end-of-life services that said he was weak and wasting away, with six months or less to live.

“Five years after that grim prognosis, however, Huff was still very much alive. He testified in federal court that no one from California Hospice Care had ever given him a medical exam before claiming he was dying.

“’I really never knew exactly what the deal was on the hospice,’ he said.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The Los Angeles Times.

“Drive-by burials and FaceTime farewells: Grief in the Covid era will weigh on the American psyche for years to come” – STATnews

covid griefMARIA FABRIZIO FOR STAT

by Todd S. Purdum

The rituals of grief and mourning are as old as time: the swift Jewish burial and seven days of sitting shiva to honor the dead; the Muslim washing and three-sheeted shrouding of a body; the solemn Mass of Christian Burial with Holy Communion and the promise of an afterlife. All these — and other rites of faith and community across the globe — have been brutally curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with effects on the mental and physical health of those left behind that have yet to be grasped.

It’s become commonplace to measure the virus’ death toll in terms of the casualties of war: In the United States alone, the fatalities already amount to five Vietnams, more than 40 Iraqs and Afghanistans and upward of 90 9/11s. Americans could mark all those past losses together, with hugs and handholding, collective tears and tender mercies, candlelight vigils and choruses of ‘God Bless America.’ By contrast, in bedside farewells via FaceTime, drive-by burials as under-attended as Jay Gatsby’s, and digital funerals on Zoom, we’ve been forced to mourn the victims of the novel coronavirus in a numbing new way: more or less alone.

“’If circumstances are such that you have to grieve alone … you can’t get the support that you may really need,’” … Continue reading this article at STATnews, click here.

“Prayers and Grief Counseling After COVID: Trying to Aid Healing in Long-Term Care” – Kaiser Health Network

grief covid

Central Baptist Village in Norridge, Illinois, held a socially distanced ceremony for one of its beloved nurses who died of COVID-19. Assisted living centers and nursing homes around the country offer grief counseling and memorial services for staffers and residents lost to the coronavirus. (Dawn Mondschein)

by Judith Graham

“A tidal wave of grief and loss has rolled through long-term care facilities as the coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 91,000 residents and staffers — nearly 40% of recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

“And it’s not over: Facilities are bracing for further shocks as coronavirus cases rise across the country.

“Workers are already emotionally drained and exhausted after staffing the front lines — and putting themselves at significant risk — since March, when the pandemic took hold. And residents are suffering deeply from losing people they once saw daily, the disruption of routines and being cut off from friends and family.

“In response, nursing homes and assisted living centers are holding memorials for people who’ve died, having chaplains and social workers help residents and staff, and bringing in hospice providers to offer grief counseling, among other strategies.”

Click here to continue reading this article in its entirety at Kaiser Health Network. 

“The myth of ‘no place like home’ when it comes to end of life” – Medical Press

dying at home“In a new study, MU researchers uncovered several themes that expose the challenges that are often not included in conversations about dying at home. – Credit: University of Missouri-Columbia”

by University of Missouri-Columbia

“She died at home, but it wasn’t the romantic scene found in movies, where the family held her hand and she simply closed her eyes. In reality, there was a night when she had diarrhea 12 times. In reality, every time she had to be moved she was in pain. This was how a caregiver described caring for her mother as she died at home to social scientists studying end-of-life decision-making.

“‘The realities of a home death experience present challenges for family members, especially those with limited resources and social support,’ Benson said. ‘It is important that people understand that home death does not automatically equate a good death.’

In recent decades, there has been a groundswell of social movements championing the ideal of dying at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, home deaths in the U.S. increased nearly 30 percent from 2000 to 2014, while deaths in hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care communities dropped.”

Click here to read this article in full.

 

Are you a veteran? Are you eligible to be buried at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery?

FIGThe Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery.

Burial in a national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces who have met a minimum active duty service requirement and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor dependent children, and under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty, or were eligible for retired pay, may also be eligible for burial. For more information visit our eligibility web page.

“And now, hospice!” – Time Goes By

time goes by

This site has been recommending this Website for a number of years.  The creator of the site has been contributing witty, brilliant, funny and candid writings about the subtitle: “What it’s really like to get old.”

What better to write about any topic hat to have experienced it.

For those of you who may have been following Ronnie Bennett’s journey, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three years ago. Today’s column is entitled, And Now, Hospice.”

Ronnie, we admire your strength, courage, foresight and candor. Thank for taking us along on your journey.

“The Pandemic Broke End-of-Life Care In a Boston ICU” – The Atlantic

In a Boston ICU, staff members orchestrate goodbyes over Zoom and comfort patients who would otherwise die alone.

USA. Palm Harbor, FL.(JIM GOLDBERG / MAGNUM)

by Sarah Zhang

“When the coronavirus came to Boston, doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital noticed how silent certain floors became. Any patients who could be discharged were discharged. Anyone who could stay away stayed away. ‘The hospital had this eerie quiet,’ says Jane deLima Thomas, the director of palliative care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. But in the intensive-care units set up for COVID-19, machines beeped and whirred in room after room of the sickest patients. Those patients were sedated, intubated, and isolated. Many of them would die.

“Palliative care is about providing comfort—physical and emotional—to patients who are seriously ill, including those who may be close to death. Before the pandemic, deLima Thomas’s team worked with patients with kidney disease or cancer or heart failure, but this spring, they all switched to COVID-19. They embedded themselves in the ICUs. Palliative care is a field especially invested in the power of a hug, a steadying hand, and a smile. In other words, palliative care is made especially difficult by a virus that spreads through human contact.

“The first day the palliative-care doctors walked into the ICUs, Thomas says, “we felt like tourists.” They were dressed in business casual, while their ICU colleagues raced around in scrubs and masks. But the palliative-care team—which includes physicians, nurses, chaplains, and social workers—found ways to integrate themselves. In the early days of the pandemic, when protective gear was scarce, no visitors were allowed. Palliative caregivers, along with ICU nurses, held iPads cocooned in plastic bags so families could say goodbye on Zoom. They were sometimes the only one in the room when a patient died, otherwise alone. I interviewed several members of the Boston-based palliative-care team, and their stories, which have been condensed and edited for clarity, are below.”

Read this article in its entirety at The Atlantic, click here.