Category Archives: End-of-life

Death and the After Life

Various burial rites

Burial Rites for all Cultures and Religions.

In a letter dated from 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote that “Our new constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Whether we’re 20 or 80, the certainty of death is something we all think about. What you believe happens after death depends on your culture, your religion and other personal beliefs. Some believe in the possibility of an afterlife, while others believe in reincarnation or that death is permanent and there is nothing afterwards. Our beliefs in what happens to us when we finally leave this world plays a huge role in how our earthly bodies are handled.

Funerals are commonplace, regardless of one’s personal religious or cultural beliefs. Funerals give family, friends and others the opportunity for closure, but they also can play a significant role in preparing the deceased person for whatever they believe to be the next step. Continue reading

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Leaving a Legacy, Instead of Excuses

What is your legacy

How will you be Remembered?

“It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I have passed away.”

So begins the pithy obituary Emily Phillips self-penned, which appeared in the Jacksonville Times Union following her death on March 25, 2015. The obituary goes on to capture the life – and humorous personality – of Mrs. Phillips in a way that let even perfect strangers know that she had lived a well and full life.

Phillips isn’t the only one who was interested in making her obituary read like an adventure novel instead of a death knell. Readers of Mary “Pat” Stocks’ obituary may have found themselves giggling more than crying. “She left behind a hell of a lot of stuff to her daughter and sons who have no idea what to do with it,” it reads just two lines in. The obituary also decries the cause of death as the 94-year-old carrying her oxygen tank up a flight of stairs to get to her bedroom the night before.

James Groth made what can only be described as his final sarcastic comments via his self-penned obituary following his death on July 28, 2015. Among the other things he shares about his life, Groth notes that he died knowing that “Monty Python and the Holy Grail was the best movie ever” and that his regrets were few, “but include eating a rotisserie hot dog from a convenience store in the summer of 2002.” Continue reading

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Facing the Inevitable Head On

Senior couple dealing with inevitable illness

How to Stay Positive in the Face of Death.

Comedian Joe E. Lewis once quipped that “you only live once – but if you work it right, once is enough.”

As we grow older, we tend to reflect on our lives and question whether we’ve lived them to the fullest. This can be especially true as we begin to lose long-time friends or family members. When those who are closest to us pass away, it is inevitable for us to think about our own mortality in a way we may not have previously done. It also can lead to depression, which in turn can cause other health issues.

Does that mean we shouldn’t think about death, even when we’re confronted with it more frequently? Not at all. In fact, coming to terms with death is a necessary developmental challenge for seniors; however, it doesn’t mean we should dwell on it.

So how do we stay positive during a time when we may be losing beloved friends and family members? Continue reading

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Don’t Wait Until it’s too Late

Senior couple making end-of-life plans

Tips for Communicating End-of-Life Wishes.

American science fiction author Frank Herbert once said, “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

Death is not a pleasant topic to discuss, and the ability to do so does not improve with age. In fact, the older we get, the more uncomfortable it can be to talk openly and honestly about what is inevitably waiting for each and every one of us.

However, the failure to communicate end-of-life wishes can be a costly one. According to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people would prefer to die at home – yet only a third of adults have an advance directive expressing that desire.

What is an Advance Directive?

An advance care directive, also known as an end-of-life plan, is a legal document which details provisions for an individual’s future healthcare decisions should they become mentally or physically incapacitated. There are two main types of directives: a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. Continue reading

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Face Your Fears for Better Results

the need for end-of-life planning and facing the inevitable

Learn the Benefits of End-of-Life Planning.

When thinking of going on a vacation, we plan every detail of our getaway down to the last minute. We know where we’ll stay, what activities we plan to engage in and even how we’re going to get there. And chances are, we even know how we plan to pay for it all. So why would we put any less effort into planning our needs for the final stages of our lives?

Yet end-of-life planning is not a phrase that any of us likes to hear, let alone find ourselves saying out loud. However, it has become an important part of the aging and retirement process, and regardless of whether thinking about your death makes you uncomfortable, it is a step in the process that really should not be avoided for your own good, and the good of your family. Continue reading

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