Being There to Say the Final Goodbye

Two years ago this month, I sat beside my Pop Pop as he died. I can’t help but cry as I type that, but this isn’t a sad story. Pop Pop was 96 years old. He was born in 1916. By Sept. 13, 2012, the day he passed, he’d been my mom’s dad for almost exactly 60 years. He’d been my grandfather for 30. Running the numbers didn’t comfort me that day, though. It didn’t compute. My friend was taking …

What Does the New End-of-Life Study Mean?

When it comes to end-of-life medical decisions, Americans are divided over what they think is right: to pull out all the stops and try everything regardless of the situation, or discontinue treatment and allow someone to die if he or she chooses. A newly released survey by the Pew Research Center asked nearly 2,000 adults by telephone to weigh in on their beliefs, including the hot-button issue of physician-assisted suicide. The results: 66 percent think a patient should be allowed …

Moving Beyond Loss in Words and Pictures

When Judith Fox‘s husband died at 53, she found herself in an “alien world” of grief and shock. At only 50 years old, she didn’t know any other widows and had no idea how to process the loss. Fast forward three years, and Fox was lucky enough to find love again. Three years after that, her second husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. An award-winning photographer and writer, Fox transformed these difficult experiences into inspiration for her books. Her latest, One …

A New Place to Talk About Death: A Cafe

Wanna talk about death? It seems that a lot of people do. Death cafes are popping up around the country, with more than 60 so far. You will be hearing a lot more about them. (I swear on my life.) Look, even USAToday has written about them! At these Cafes, the conversation is about … death: Our fear of it, how we prepare for our own, what we think happens after it’s over, near-death experiences, grieving rituals and funerals. The biggest …

A TED Talk on Preparing for the Inevitable

When the annual Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) conference began in 1984, the Los Angeles Times called it “an obscure gathering of engineers, theorists and artists.” But in the nearly three decades since then, TED has morphed into a series of mind-expanding showcases staged in several countries that attract scores of celebrity visionaries, ranging from physicist Steven Hawking and neurologist Oliver Sacks to former President Bill Clinton and rock stars Bono and Peter Gabriel. Better yet, the nonprofit Sapling Foundation, which stages the …

Older, Homeless, No Family Caregiver – What Do They Do?

Get ready to see more older homeless men and women on the street. Since most don’t have families or are estranged from them, there’s no family caregiver. Here’s a TED talk that gives perspective on homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports there are 1.6 million homeless people a year on any given day. According to an NPR story, more than half of single homeless adults are age 47+. Younger boomers born between 1955-1965 are driving the aging …