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This week, our focus is on the end-of-life, which is not always a serious subject, but which almost always could be handled better. I am highlighting my recently recorded webinar now available through my website on Grief and End-of-Life Care which is loaded with suggestions, and provides two CEUs from NCAAP for Activity Professionals. 

We hope you are finding these offerings fun and maybe even useful. We welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com) And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.

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The Quote

The highest tribute to the dead is not grief, but gratitude.
~ Thornton Wilder

How fortunate we are to have had them in our lives.

 

The Quirky Observation

 

The Quotable Facts

According to this website, the Romans introduced gravestones to England. Back then, gravestones were more frequently dedicated to women and children than soldiers. After the end of Roman control in Britain in the fifth century, gravestones fell out of favor and did not become widely popular again until the modern era.


The Quiz
 
One aspect of my Grief and End-of-Life Care webinar that is different from previous iterations I’ve done on this topic is a series of questions to ask participants in your group about their views on death. I have one or two friends who have a true fear of dying, but most of the older adults I know, including myself, are happy to talk about the following questions, so rather than a quiz this week, consider probing their thoughts on these:
  • What do you hope to do before you die? What’s preventing you from doing it? Can the obstacles be overcome?
  • How do you want to die and who do you want with you?
  • How do you hope you are remembered? What do you most value about yourself and the life you’ve lived?
  • Who are your role models or the people you most value in your life?
  • Do you have any favorite quotations or words to live by?
  • What do you want to have happen at your funeral? Would you consider making it fun? (This question is prompted by a beloved ice-cream-loving friend who had an ice cream cart with cones for all at her funeral.)
  • Once upon a time nearly everyone was buried in a casket – the fancier the better – but more recently, more people are choosing not only cremation, but eco- burials that let their cremains blend back into earth or sea through biodegradable containers shaped like urns, turtles, shells and more. Others are having their cremains turned into fireworks, trees (burying the cremains around a seedling) and even diamond rings (maybe only zircons?) What would you choose?
Make a record of each person’s answers and use them to pay tribute when the time comes.
 

Featured Product
My Grief and End-of-Life Care listen-anytime webinar is now available for staff training. You will be surprised by the many ways you can make others more comfortable and build relationships through your practices. Tons of ideas and even a bit of fun . . .



The Question

I was told many years ago by author and hospice nurse Maggie Callanan, author of Final Gifts, that people – even those with dementia – chose their moment of death. Some people hang on for a particular family member to arrive, and others wait until everyone (or a specific someone) has stepped out of the room, perhaps in an effort to spare that person imagined pain. In the years since then, after the deaths of too many family members and friends, that idea has brought me comfort, but I am curious to know: What has been your experience?

Respond to Kathy@WiserNow.com.


The Kiosk of Resources
  • I highlighted four books in my Grief and End-of-Life webinar that I highly recommend.
  •  Hank Dunn, a former chaplain for Hospice of Northern Virginia, wrote the booklet Hard Choices for Loving People, subtitled CPR, Artificial Feeding, Comfort Care, and the Patient with a Life-Threatening Illness. This easy-to-read and understand booklet has sold millions of copies and is available at reduced prices in quantity. It’s also available in Spanish.
  •  Humorist Allen Klein wrote in his book, The Courage to Laugh, “I am not advocating that humor should cover up grief or that laughter need replace tears. . .  What I am saying is that laughter and tears are both valid in the dying and grieving process.” Of his more than two dozen excellent books, this is the one that has been most meaningful to me in my work.
  •  Virginia Morris, in her book, Talking about Death, suggests that “a good death” means that a year or two or 10 or 20 years from now, we will be able to look back and feel confident that we did our best to make the person comfortable, pain-free (if possible), serene, valued and uplifted by people who love and care for her/him. She lights the path
  • My friend Joyce Simard in her innovative, but practical and compassionate book, The End of Life Namaste Care Program, explains how many of the comforts hospice and palliative care offer can be put in place by residential care staff (or in one’s home) at any time.
  • And, as always, check out www.WiserNow.com.
Our multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what we and people whom we admire are doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. We hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (Kathy@WiserNow.com)
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