Category Archives: End-of-life issues

“Obituary Writing 101 | Tips for creating a meaningful farewell for someone, or for yourself” – next avenue

Obituary-Writing

by Deborah Quilter

“Have you ever read a friend’s obituary and had any of these reactions?: You cannot reconcile the person described with what was written about him or her; the events summarized did not constitute what your loved one considered important in life and instead of capturing the essence of the deceased’s colorful personality, it painted a beige picture with tired platitudes that the departed would have loathed.

“Or have you ever been charged with writing an obituary for someone and realized with rising panic that you have absolutely no idea where he went to school, when he lived in certain cities or what he would consider important to include? Imagine doing this under deadline and the stress of mourning.


Come to a FREE LUNCH & LEARN “Let’s write my Obituary” on Friday, April 5 (details below – click on the image to enlarge.

obituary workshop


“Many boomers decide to spare friends this experience and take matters into their own hands. With a little guidance, you can come up with a summing-up you can be proud of. Even if you don’t want to write a full-fledged obit, you can make that task less onerous for someone else by leaving valuable leads.”

Read this article in its entirety at next avenue.

Friday Wrap-Up, January 25, 2019 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

 

Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

“Misconceptions About Health Costs When You’re Older” – The New York Times

“End-of-life spending may seem wasteful, but it turns out it’s hard to predict when someone will die.”

end-of-life medical costsTraditional Medicare has substantial gaps, leaving Americans on the hook for a lot more than they might expect.” Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

by Austin Frakt

“Some significant expenses decline as we age: Most mortgages are eventually paid off, and ideally children grow up and become self-supporting.

“But health care is one area in which costs are almost certain to rise. After all, one of the original justifications for Medicare — which kicks in at age 65 — is that older people have much higher health care needs and expenses.

“But there are a few common misunderstandings about health costs when people are older, including the idea that money can easily be saved by reducing wasteful end-of-life spending.

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.

Friday Wrap-Up, December 14, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth..

Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

 

New Palliative Care Guidelines Released

palliative care guidelined

“New clinical practice guidelines for palliative care have been released by the National Consensus Project, with support from John A. Hartford Association (JAHF) for the evidence review. They include tools, resources and examples to give patients and their caregivers relief from the symptoms and stress of serious illness, based on need, not prognosis. The guidelines urge all health care professionals and organizations to integrate palliative care into their services across settings.

“Palliative care is the best friend of the seriously ill,” said JAHF Senior Program Officer Amy Berman.”

Click here or on the graphic to download the guidelines.

“The Ways Inequality Affects Black Americans at the End of Life” – next avenue

“Contributing factors: health inequity, discrimination and lack of cultural competency”

Racial-Disparities-in-the-End-of-Life-CareCredit: Adobe Stock

by Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez

“Jodi Savage was her grandmother’s caretaker in her last days. Like many black Americans, her grandmother’s cultural beliefs and religious background led to very little discussion around the end of life. Culturally speaking, black Americans on the whole tend to avoid discussing end-of-life topics for fear of speaking things into existence. Focus is placed on making the best of the time you’re given. A lack of cultural competency from physicians led to a misunderstanding of Savage’s grandmother’s needs and minimal support through the death-planning process. Savage endured all of this while trying to remain strong as her grandmother battled Alzheimer’s.

“Savage wasn’t prepared for the process of making such impactful decisions on her grandmother’s behalf. No one assisted her with end-of-life planning during the process of caretaking, and she didn’t discuss end-of-life care until the night before her grandmother died.”

Continue reading this article at next avenue in its entirety.


Part of the LIVING TO THE END OF LIFE SPECIAL REPORT

(Editor’s note: This content is provided by The John A. Hartford Foundation, a Next Avenue sponsor.)

American Bar Association | Advance Directives Counseling Guide for Lawyers (and healthcare professionals)

counseling guide

The American Bar Association has released this guide specifically for lawyers and health care professionals to align the practice of advance care planning in legal offices with the realities of implementation in health settings entitled, “Advance Directives: Counseling Guide for Lawyers.” 

“Climate Change May Cause 26,000 More U.S. Suicides by 2050” – The Atlantic

“Unusually hot days have profound effects on mental health and human physiology.”

A surfer pulls off a wave as the sun sets in Cardiff during what local media reported to be a record breaking heat wave in Southern Californiasurfer cools off during a heat wave in southern California in October 2017MIKE BLAKE / REUTERS”

by Robinson Meyer

“For almost two centuries now, scientists have noticed a place’s suicide rate bears troubling links to the changing of the seasons and the friendliness of its climate.

“In 1881the Italian physician Enrico Morselli noted that suicide rates peak in the summer, deeming the effect “too great for it to be attributed to chance of the human will.” Two decades later, the French sociologist Emile Durkheim noticed the same effect—though he also found the suicide rate was higher in Scandinavian countries.

“Even today, CDC data confirms that suicides peak in the United States in the early summer.”

Read this article in its entirety, click here.

“Letting Go: What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?” – The New Yorker

“People have concerns besides simply prolonging their lives. Surveys of patients with terminal illness find that their top priorities include, in addition to avoiding suffering, being with family, having the touch of others, being mentally aware, and not becoming a burden to others.”

gawande article“Modern medicine is good at staving off death with aggressive interventions—and bad at knowing when to focus, instead, on improving the days that terminal patients have left.”- Photograph by Phillip Toledano, “Birthday Balloon,” from “Days with My Father” (2008)

by Atul Gawande

“Sara Thomas Monopoli was pregnant with her first child when her doctors learned that she was going to die. It started with a cough and a pain in her back. Then a chest X-ray showed that her left lung had collapsed, and her chest was filled with fluid. A sample of the fluid was drawn off with a long needle and sent for testing. Instead of an infection, as everyone had expected, it was lung cancer, and it had already spread to the lining of her chest. Her pregnancy was thirty-nine weeks along, and the obstetrician who had ordered the test broke the news to her as she sat with her husband and her parents. The obstetrician didn’t get into the prognosis—she would bring in an oncologist for that—but Sara was stunned. Her mother, who had lost her best friend to lung cancer, began crying.”

Read this article in its entirety at The New Yorkerclick here.

“Is a suicide epidemic hiding under the drug overdose epidemic?”

As the US continues to grapple with a deadly opioid crisis, a growing number of experts are concerned that overdose deaths are masking a larger suicide crisis.

suicide

The background is this: Suicide rates in the US rose 30% between 2000 and 2016, according to estimates. But the real numbers are undoubtedly higher, partly because of the opioid epidemic.

According to a recent study, suicide by drug overdose is “profoundly underreported” in the US. On top of that, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder affect more than half of people with drug use disorders.

Here’s the thing: The official numbers say that less than 4% of the 44,000 fatal opioid overdoses in 2016 were suicides. However, experts say that data from teen deaths points to a much higher suicide rate — perhaps 13.5% of all opioid deaths. One addiction expert put it like this: “We should be very concerned that many overdoses are unrecognized suicide attempts.”

The reason this matters, as a mental health and suicide expert described, is that if people were more aware of the overlap, focusing on treating some drug users for depression would offer them a better chance of getting off drugs and not dying.

SOURCE: BuzzFeedNews