Death Café serves up tea, cake and conversation about dying | Toronto Star

This is a good idea – creating a safe forum to talk about death and dying openly…

On Thursday Toronto held its first Death Café, part of a global movement in which people embrace their own mortality by lounging around, eating cake and talking about dying.

via Death Café serves up tea, cake and conversation about dying | Toronto Star.

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“The Art of Dying” and a good death – JSOnline

A very interesting perspective on the role of suffering in death and dying and how we should approach it…

Hospice and palliative care can erase pain, and with it — at times — consciousness. This is not a good death, according to physician Farr Curlin. He notes that two 15th century Latin texts, “Ars Moriendi” or “The Art of Dying,” give advice on what makes a “good death.”

The role of consciousness — being able to contemplate what has been, and what is about to be — is a key component.

He believes that those providing care must re-examine the belief that suffering calls for “immediate treatment,” according to a Life Matters Media blog post.

“In hospice and palliative medicine, we are increasingly aiming to end the condition of health that makes suffering possible, namely consciousness,” Curlin said is the article. But  he continued: “Consciousness for many is itself a form of suffering which many find unbearable.”

via “The Art of Dying” and a good death – JSOnline.

End-of-Life Choices: Holding on and Letting Go

Our culture tells us that we should fight hard against age, illness and death: “Do not go gentle into that good night,” the Dylan Thomas poem says. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” And holding on to life, to our loved ones, is indeed a basic human instinct. However, as the end of life approaches, “raging against the dying of the light” often begins to lose importance, and “letting go” may instead feel like the right thing to do.

via End-of-Life Choices: Holding on and Letting Go.

Vermont Passes ‘Aid in Dying’ Measure – NYTimes.com

Vermont will become the fourth state to make it legal for a physician to prescribe lethal medication to a terminally ill, mentally competent patient who wants to end his life. It has also become the first state to approve the practice through legislation, instead of via a public referendum (as in Oregon and Washington) or a court decision (in Montana).

via Vermont Passes ‘Aid in Dying’ Measure – NYTimes.com.

End of Life: Hospice Palliative Care

[Exploring Life] The hospice palliative care movement is designed to provide end-of-life or terminal care for people who are in the final stage of life. This form of care is not designed to bring about a cure, nor is the focus to concentrate on prolonging a life through medical intervention. The purpose of hospice palliative care is to relieve the physical, mental and emotional symptoms of pain and discomfort associated with dying in order to improve the quality of time remaining for both the dying as well as their loved ones. Hospice palliative care is a method of care designed to promote quality of life as long as possible, and provide a foundation for a good death.

via End of Life: Hospice Palliative Care.

Social isolation and loneliness can lower life expectancy | KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles

New research reveals social isolation and loneliness can actually shorten the lives of elderly people.

A British study looked at the social connections for more than 6,000 older men and women over an eight year period. Seniors who had little contact with their friends and relatives were more likely to die early, regardless of health or other factors.

Researchers aren’t sure why isolation is a strong predictor of death, but say other studies have shown social contact is a vital aspect to health and happiness.

via Social isolation and loneliness can lower life expectancy | KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Paso Robles.