I’m a caregiving expert, with more than 30 years of experience in the field of aging, so you’d think I’d be fully prepared for a loved one’s death, especially when that person is older or has been battling illness.
Many Americans, it seems, have a hard time talking about death. Even doctors struggle to deal with the mortality of patients who they know aren’t going to make it.
It’s been more than 15 years since the Institute of Medicine released its seminal 1997 report detailing the suffering many Americans experience at the end of life and offering sweeping recommendations on how to improve care.
The swift, lethal nature of brain cancer — and the terrible decisions it forces families to face — has been in the news recently, with three of its victims forcing us to think about choices we hope we never have to make.
Nobody knew much about Roger. His niece had dropped him off at the nursing home one day, saying there was a family emergency. Could they keep him overnight?
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 conferences, now makes hundreds of TED talks available on its website. (If you're not sure which ones to pick, you can even listen to playlists of TED talks selected by luminaries in various fields.)
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