Ep. 139 The One Question You Need to Answer to Jumpstart Your EOL Planning

Learn how answering just one question can simplify your decision-making process for end-of-life planning.

PodcastEOLquestion

slide01In this episode I’ll share how one simple question helped clarify my Mom’s end-of-life wishes and why I recommend starting there to put your own advance care planning into the proper perspective. This episode is sponsored by my course “Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning.

Learn more about the course here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still join my online reading group for 2018 “A Year of Reading Dangerously” and read a book each month on death, dying and the afterlife. Sign up here.

Thank you to all of my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! Your donations mean a lot to me!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Putting our wishes for the end of life into writing is more complicated than it seems. We can easily get lost when we start to consider all of the options available and make decisions about what we do or do not want for care during out last days.

When my mother was trying to complete her living we finally found a simple way to clarify what really mattered to her. I asked her to tell me how she wanted it to be when she was taking her last breaths in this life. And she answered right away: “I want to be in my own home with you taking care of me.”

That one question changed everything for us and her answer guided all of the decisions that we made together as a family for the next five years before her death. I have spent time thinking about the one question myself and it is clear to me that the only thing that will really matter to me when I am ready to die is love. I will want to be as near as possible to the people I love.

You can use this one question too:

  • Imagine your last moments of life: how do you want it to be?
  • Describe what you see in positive terms first: Who is with you? Where are you?
  • Keep it simple to avoid being overwhelmed. Just a few details are all you need to describe.
  • Finally add your 2-3 absolute DO-NOT’s to the picture. What do you definitely NOT want to have happen during your last moments? Again – limit the number to those things you feel strongest about. Your family will remember 2-3 requests but not 10-12.

Start talking now about your positive vision for your final moments and let your family know what you envision. When you engage them in your vision they are more likely to help  you create it. They will have had time to think about your vision and to imagine themselves being part of it.

No matter what start thinking about the end of life now. It’s never too soon to get your plans in order! Consider signing up for the Step-by-Step Roadmap for End-of-Life Planning if you’d like to have a doctor by your side as you make decisions for yourself!

Other related episodes you might like to hear:

Ep. 105: Choosing the Right Healthcare Proxy

Ep. 103: The Truth About CPR: Exposing the Myths

Ep. 81: Let’s Talk About It: The Conversation Project with Dr. Jessica McCannon

Remember there will be a new episode next Monday! If you enjoy this content please consider leaving a review on iTunes (Thanks!!).

Until next time …

Face Your Fear            BE Ready             Love Your Life

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Ep. 138 Pet Therapy for Hospice Patients with Carol Mestemacher and Magnum – Facility Dog

Learn how pet therapy with a trained animal companion can benefit hospice patients physically and emotionally.

PodcastMagnum

MagnumIn this episode I share a “legacy interview” from the archives with Magnum – a trained facility dog – and his handler Carol Mestemacher about the benefits of pet therapy for hospice patients. Magnum recently “retired” from his volunteer position so I decided to honor his work by featuring this interview today. Thank you for your service Magnum and Carol!

Links to learn more about pet therapy:

Champ Assistance Dogs

Assistance Dogs International

Pet Partners

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

A huge thank you to my new supporters on Patreon.com/eolu: Susan Clark and Howard Bryant! Your contributions help me keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air. If you’d like to join us for as little as $1 a month and receive special bonuses go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!

Links to events taking place now:

“A Year of Reading Dangerously” – online reading group about dying, death and the afterlife

S.M.A.R.T. Decisions Challenge – 10-day challenge for completing your advance directives this month

Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class – get this free guide to help you start a class

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

This episode features an interview with Magnum – Facility Dog and his handler Carol Mestemacher about the benefits of pet therapy for hospice patients.

You will learn:

  • The physical and emotional changes that occur for patients with pet therapy
  • The training required for an animal to be certified for pet therapy
  • How maximum security prisoners are providing training for therapy animals
  • What type of pet is well-suited to become a therapy animal
  • How Magnum serves as an ambassador for hospice in his community
  • How to start a pet therapy program in your area

Remember to tune in for a new episode every Monday! If you enjoy this podcast please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes!

Until next week …

Face Your Fear              BE Ready           Love Your Life

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Ep. 137 Why You Should Forgive Now Rather Than On Your Deathbed

Learn why and how to start a forgiveness practice now instead of waiting until your last days.

PodcastForgiveness

dove-2516641_640In this episode I share my thoughts about the importance of forgiveness and why you shouldn’t wait until the end of life to start practicing it. I’ve been working on it all my adult life and I can guarantee you it’s a worthwhile endeavor!

Read the companion blog here.

Download the Forgiveness Tool Kit.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

decisionsignFor the month of April I’m hosting the 10-day S.M.A.R.T. Decisions Challenge to help you get your advance directives completed in honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day. You’ll be guided step-by-step to figure out what really matters to you so that you can utilize that information as you fill out your living will and healthcare proxy forms. Sign up here.

 

Slide01If you are interested in teaching a death and dying class at some point in the future you can download the Teaching Guidelines here! When you sign up you’ll be on the mailing list to learn about the upcoming Work Group and Mastermind for death and dying teachers!

Get the Guidelines here.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Many of my hospice patients have been concerned about practicing forgiveness before they died. I sat with them at their bedsides as they struggled to let go of their anger and bitterness so that they could die in peace.

But I learned that it is possible to start the process of forgiveness now so that the task will be much easier at the end of life. Here are some of the mindset shifts I’ve found are helpful as you learn to forgive (listen to the episode to hear the details):

  • Life is a classroom – you can learn from any experience
  • You are not entitled to a life free from difficulties
  • The past no longer exists except in your memory where you keep negative events alive
  • It’s not your job to punish those who have harmed you (and trying to do that just hurts you even more)
  • You can make yourself whole again without getting an apology
  • The 4-View Forgiveness can help you get a broader perspective on past events
  • Simple rituals can help you let go of the past

Get the Forgiveness Tool Kit to learn more about strategies for practicing forgiveness on a daily basis so that you will be free of the burden of resentment at the end of life. Sign up for the kit here.

Tune in every Monday for a new episode! Leave a review on iTunes if you like this content (it really makes a difference) and go to Patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to become a supporter!

Until next week remember …

Face Your Fear            BE Ready            Love Your Life

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Ep. 136 Art and Conversations About Death with Molly Stuart

Learn about Molly’s innovative workshops on end-of-life planning that utilize art projects to inspire deep conversations.

PodcastStuart

MollyIn this episode I share an interview with Molly Stuart who is a lawyer, artist, chaplain and hospice volunteer. She teaches a wonderful workshop on end-of-life planning that includes art to help people uncover their deepest values and concerns.

Learn more about Molly’s work here.

Watch this episode on YouTube to view Molly’s slides:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

decisionsignThe month of April features National Healthcare Decisions Day and in honor of that event I am sharing the 10-day S.M.A.R.T. Decisions Challenge – a free challenge that will help you get your end-of-life planning done with guidance along the way by email.

Click here to learn more and sign up.

 

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously if you’d like to read one book a month with us about death and dying! Sign up here.

Slide01

Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class and you’ll be on the list to hear about upcoming Work Groups and a Mastermind Group for Death and Dying Class teachers. Download the guidelines here.

 

Thank you to my latest supporter on Patreon.com/eolu: Kathy Lynch and thanks also to Cathy Duke for increasing your pledge! I’m so grateful for your contributions!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

My guest Molly Stuart shares information about her innovative end-of-life planning workshops. We discuss:

  • How she got interested in teaching about end of life issues
  • The complicated nature of advance care planning
  • The 3-part workshop she designed, which includes:
    • Practical end-of-life medical and legal issues
    • Emotional aspects of living while knowing you’re going to die
    • Transformation and legacy
  • How Molly uses art to address:
    • Loss
    • Meaning
    • Regret
    • Legacy
  • The creative projects her students create as part of her workshops
  • How to create a legacy art project after the death of a loved one

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this content please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes!

Until next time …

Face Your Fear         BE Ready            Love Your Life

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Ep. 135 How to Practice Minimalism at the End of Life

Learn how a minimalist lifestyle can help you find more joy and meaning as you approach the later days of life.

podcastminimalism

minimalistIn this episode I share my thoughts on why the minimalist lifestyle could help us avoid excessive and unnecessary medical treatment at the end of life. In addition there are many other benefits to living simply and with “less is more” as our goal when we get older.

Read the companion blog here.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and confront your own discomfort about death, dying and the afterlife by reading one “dangerous” book each month in 2018! Sign up here!

Slide01

Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class and you’ll be on the mailing list to learn about the next class on creating your own course in death and dying coming up soon! Sign up and download here!

 

I’m so grateful this week to my latest supporters on Patreon.com/eolu! Thank you so much to Glenda Myles, Malynda Cress, Karen Britton, Mila Martin, and Tami Yinger! Your generosity means so much to me! If you want to join them go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more about the bonuses you’ll receive for signing up!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

The minimalist movement is all the rage right now among millennials and it has a lot of positive aspects we can learn from. The emphasis is on living simply, with less material possessions in order to have more joy and freedom in life. This lifestyle could serve us well as we approach our own end of life. Here are some ways to live more simply:

  • Clear out possessions that you no longer use or cherish. This idea has been described in a recent blog and book about the Swedish practice of “death-cleaning.”
  • Comes to terms with mortality. Recognize that life is finite and death is inevitable, therefore it is important to be intentional about how you live each moment in every day, including what kind of healthcare you choose.
  • Take control over your healthcare – be proactive and question recommendations in these areas:
    • Medications – Ask if the drugs you are taking are still necessary, if they could be causing side effects or creating negative interactions with one another. Ask if you can try reducing dosages or the number of medications you are being prescribed. Many seniors are taking at least 5 prescription medications according to studies.
    • Annual examstudies show that the annual physical exam wastes money and time and might even be harmful. Ask if you can decrease to one physical every 3 yeats.
    • Health screenings – Over age 70 it is no longer recommended that you have the following screening tests: colonoscopy, mammogram, PSA, pap smear. Studies show that excessive screening can lead to false positive results, over-diagnosis and harmful over-treatment.
  • Plan ahead and be prepared in order to minimize complications in these areas:
    • Aging – How will you manage the physical changes of later life? Who will help you?
    • Housing – Where will you live if you can’t stay in your own home?
    • Terminal care – What type of treatment do you want to receive at the end of life and for how long?
    • After-death care – What type of funeral and burial do you want to have?
  • Learn to live in the moment – so you can enjoy all of life.
  • Focus on what really matters – to help you eliminate the things you no longer care about.
  • Find purpose and meaning by living simply and with intention for the rest of your days.

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode! If you enjoy this content please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes!

Until next week remember …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready          Love Your Life

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Ep. 134 The Hidden Grief of Life’s Transitions with Rev. Terri Daniel

Learn how grief over the death of loved one is compounded by other losses that occur simultaneously.

podcastdaniel

ALDanielcroppedIn this episode I share a conversation with Rev. Terri Daniel about the “other grief” that occurs throughout life with or without the death of a loved one. We’ll talk about this hidden grief and why it is important to acknowledge it as an important part of life.

Learn more about Terri’s workshop at http://spiritualityandgrief.com

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

It’s not too late to sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and join us in reading books about death, dying and the afterlife throughout 2018! Learn more and sign up here.

Thank you to all of the donors who are contributing to my page at Patreon.com/eolu each month! It makes a huge difference and I’m very grateful! Thank you to Suzanne O’Brien RN and Doulagivers.com for being a “legacy supporter” for the past 18 months!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

In this interview Rev. Terri Daniel and I talk about the big picture of grief throughout life’s transitions and how it often goes unnoticed as we focus primarily on grief after a death occurs. We talk about:

  • Continuing Bonds Theory
  • “Other” types of loss
    • Material loss
    • Relationship loss
    • Intrapsychic loss
    • Functional loss
    • Role loss
    • System loss
  • Four additional types of grief
    • Relinquishment grief
    • Tribal/National grief
    • Vicarious grief
    • Collective grief
  • The need for ritual and ceremony to process grief
  • Are there avoidable vs. unavoidable losses?

Rev. Terri Daniel is a clinical chaplain and end-of-life educator certified in death, dying and bereavement by the Association of Death Education and Counseling. Her work focuses on assisting dying and grieving individuals to discover a more spiritually-spacious understanding of loss and trauma.

Remember to tune in every Monday for a new episode and please leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this content!

Until next time remember …

Face Your Fear          BE Ready           Love Your Life

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Ep. 133 Journaling as a Practice for Living and Dying

Learn about the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of keeping a journal and why you should start doing it!

podcastjournaling

redjournalIn this episode I share my thoughts on my own journaling practice and how it has changed my life. I also relate a story of a woman who kept a “hospice journal” during her last days of life. You’ll find plenty of reasons to start your own journaling practice and you can download the Journaling Starter Kit below if you are interested!

Click here to get the Journaling Starter Kit!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and start reading a book each month of 2018 about death and dying. It’s a great educational and inspirational experience! Click here to learn more and sign up.

Stay tuned for more information on my current Work Group for Death & Dying Teachers. We have gathered together a fabulous group of dedicated women who are going to be starting new classes on death and dying this year! I’ll be reporting on it in future episodes.

Thank you to my latest contributor on Patreon.com/eolu: Birgitte Due Jensen Koch! I appreciate your generosity and support so much! I’m grateful to everyone who is helping me keep this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series on the air by making a financial commitment at Patreon.com/eolu.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

This episode was inspired in part by a message I received from Evan Mercer about his wife Julie’s hospice journal, which he shared at her memorial service and in a video on YouTube:

I have been journaling for much of my life and have found it to be very beneficial in many ways. So I wanted to share this message to encourage everyone to give journaling a try and find out for yourself how it can help you. Here are some of the benefits I’ve received:

  • Creates discipline and a routine for my day
  • Helps me ventilate my emotions
  • Organizes my thoughts
  • Allows to analyze and process my judgments toward other people
  • Shows me another perspective and reveals my higher wisdom

Studies have shown that journaling has health benefits for people with chronic illnesses like asthma and arthritis and also for those with terminal illnesses like HIV/AIDS and cancer. I believe that keeping a “Hospice Journal” as Julie did can help terminal patients cope with a range of vacillating emotions as death approaches, discern what really matters in life, and leave behind a legacy for loved ones to cherish.

Journaling has also been shown to improve immune function and alleviate stress. Men seem to benefit from journaling even more than women and writing a journal by hand is more beneficial than typing on a keyboard.

If you want to try journaling for yourself get the Journaling Starter Kit and see where it takes you! Download the Starter Kit here!

Tune in next week for a new episode and please leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy this content!

Until next time remember:

Face Your Fear           BE Ready          Love Your Life

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Ep. 132 What it Takes to be a GREAT Death-Ed Teacher

Learn what qualities are needed to become the best-possible death education teacher and get inspired to teach your own class!

PodcastDETeacher

DEATHEDforeveryoneIn this episode I focus once again on death education and talk about the qualities that are best suited to teaching this subject matter. Find out if you would be a good teacher and what subject and students are ideal for your knowledge and experience.

Slide01

 

Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class here!

You’ll be on the list to learn more about upcoming  work groups to help you put together you own class!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously here (we’re having so much fun reading a book a month about death, dying and the afterlife!)

THANK YOU to my latest supporter at Patreon.com/eolu: Janel Barthe! Also thank you to Suzanne O’Brien of Doulagivers™ who has been supporting this podcast for over a year and is one of our biggest donors! Your encouragement and contribution to this work means everything to me! Go to Patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to join and become a patron – you’ll get access to the monthly Q&A call (Hospice Happy Hour) among other benefits!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Today I’m sharing some thoughts on what it takes to teach a death and dying class as part of my ongoing focus on death education for 2018!

To find out what you should teach and who your students should be consider your Passion, Knowledge and Experience. Make a list for each category:

  • What subject are you most passionate about in the end-of-life area?
  • What knowledge and training do you have in this area and in other subjects? What type of work have you done in the past?
  • What life experience have you acquired related to death and dying?

Try to find the overlap between these 3 lists. Ask yourself: what training or work history do you have that you could use to find students with whom you can share your passion and life experience?  For example: if you have had a career in law enforcement, have been a hospice volunteer, and are passionate about helping people deal with grief then teaching law enforcement officers how to manage feelings of grief and trauma after being exposed to death in the field might be a perfect fit for you.

The qualities that will help you be a great teacher are:

  • Passion for your subject – choose the area that most makes you light up and your students will love learning from you
  • Flexibility – be able to change your focus on short notice based on the needs of your students and the events of life around you
  • Creativity – utilize your own inspiration to bring innovative ideas for activities, projects and field trips to your classroom
  • Curiosity – be a student yourself, always learning something new that you can bring to the classroom. Your syllabus will stay relevant and you will avoid burning out!
  • Open-mindedness – set aside your own agendas so that you can guide students to their own individual conclusions, even if they don’t agree with you; be able to let go of your attachments to the outcome of your teaching.

Even if you don’t feel like you are strong in all of these qualities don’t give up on the idea of being a death and dying teacher! You can keep growing and developing yourself as you teach others. Also don’t be afraid to get more education for yourself before you start teaching if there are subjects you still need to explore.

Tune in every Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this content please leave a review on iTunes (it really helps!) Check out Patreon.com/eolu if you’d like to be a supporter!

Until next week remember …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready            Love Your Life

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Ep. 131 Embracing the Mystery of Death as We Plan for the Future

Learn why it’s difficult to make black-and-white decisions for the end of life when death itself is a mystery that will unfold with its own timing.

PodcastMystery

giagemThis week is a solo episode in which I share two stories about hospice patients I cared for and the unpredictability of death, even when a terminal diagnosis is present. This reality means that we have to keep growing in our awareness and acceptance of death as a mystery, even while we complete paperwork that gives concrete instructions for our last days of life. AND I feature some clips from my beautiful daughter Gia’s new album of Healing Chants!

Check out the album here!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and expand your consciousness about death by reading books throughout 2018! Sign up here.

Slide01Get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class then join our work group in March as we team up to help one another create our own unique classes!

Sign up for the guide here.

 

A HUGE THANK YOU to my supporters on Patreon.com/eolu: Julie Lester, Brian Hempstead, and Mandy Pierpoint! Your generosity means so much to me! And thanks as well to all of the donors who have made pledges over the past year. I appreciate you so much! If you’d like to become a patron and receive the Hospice Happy Hour Q&A recording each month along with other bonuses go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

I learned through my hospice work that death is a mystery and cannot be predicted or controlled unless we choose to take it into our own hands. Even then the method we use to end our life might fail or we might die of other causes before we can carry out our plans. But that mysterious aspect of death makes it endlessly fascinating to witness. If we can adopt a beginner’s mind about death then we can gradually become more relaxed and less fearful as we watch it approach.

The stories of two of my hospice patients illustrate the mystery of death quite well. One man was expected to live for several months after he signed up for hospice but died the next day of a massive heart attack. Another was in terminal renal failure and, according to medical experts, could not possibly remain alive for more than 2 weeks. And yet, that patient survived an entire year (it’s a great story so please listen in!)

As we work to complete our advance directives and put our wishes into writing we should also remember that this paperwork is not a guarantee of how our final days will unfold. The legal forms just help us prevent an outcome we don’t want. But when and how death comes will still be a mystery and we may end up awake and alert during our final days and responsible for our own decisions. So we would do well to keep learning about death and growing in our acceptance. In that way we can best prepare ourselves for any decisions we have to make at the end of life.

Remember there’s a new episode each Monday! Please tune in again next week and, if you enjoy this content leave a review on iTunes.

Check out Gia’s new album – you’ll hear her beautiful song Evocation as this episode ends!!

Until next week:

Face Your Fear           BE Ready           Love Your Life

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Ep. 130 How Death Awareness Can Change the World

Learn about studies that have shown the positive benefits of death awareness and why we need more of it in the world.

PodcastDeathAwareness

DEATHEDforeveryoneIn this episode I share some recent studies that validate the fact that being aware of death has positive effects on behavior toward others. This is evidence that we need more classes, workshops, books, films, and discussion groups about death in order to promote health, peace, tolerance, and compassion in the world.

Read the companion article on Thrive Global here.

Remember you can still sign up for the online reading group A Year of Reading Dangerously by clicking here. Join us to read one book about death, dying and the afterlife each month during 2018!

Slide01You can also get the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class here if you are interested in teaching a class in your community or for college or high school students. In addition when you sign up for the guidelines you could become part of a work group during the month of  March to create a death and dying class.

Sign up for the guidelines!

THANK YOU to all of you who help support this podcast with your donations on Patreon.com/eolu!!

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Kenneth Vail and his colleagues at the University of Missouri recently did a review of several studies on death awareness and behavior. They found that increased death awareness was associated with several positive behaviors that could lead to needed changes in how we live our lives and connect with one another. Here are some of the findings:

  • Helping behaviors increased when people were given subtle reminders of their mortality, such as being near a cemetery. These positive behaviors include compassion, tolerance, empathy and pacifism.
  • Pro-environmental behaviors increased for people with heightened death awareness
  • Positive health behaviors such as quitting smoking, starting an exercise program, and performing breast self-exams increased for people who became aware of death
  • People with fundamentalist religious values who had previously rejected members of other religions were more likely to show compassion toward those of other groups when they experienced greater death awareness

In our world that is currently suffering  with environmental degradation, polarization of society, violence, and unhealthy behaviors perhaps increased death awareness could hold some promise for our survival. Join me in improving death awareness this year by reading books and teaching classes on death and dying!

Tune in every Monday for a new episode and if you enjoy this content consider leaving a review on iTunes (thank you – it makes a big difference!)

Until next week remember ….

Face Your Fear          BE Ready          Love Your Life

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Ep. 129 How to Teach Death-Ed to College Students with Stacy Smith

Learn tips for teaching college students about death and dying from psychologist and educator Stacy Smith.

PodcastStacyS

stacysmithlgIn this episode I share an interview with Stacy Smith who teaches a course in the Psychology of Death and Dying to students at a local community college. She’ll offer some great tips about teaching your own class and help you get inspired to become a death-ed teacher!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Slide01

Click here to Download the Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class!

 

Thank you to all of the supporters of this podcast on Patreon.com/eoluclick here to become a patron and receive lots of bonuses!

You can still sign up for A Year of Reading Dangerously and join us in reading 12 books about death and dying this year! Sign up here.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Stacy Smith will share how she started teaching her college class: The Psychology of Death & Dying. In this interview you’ll learn:

  • How Stacy got interested in teaching a college class on death and dying
  • How to gain support from school administration and attract students to a death and dying class
  • An overview of Stacy’s lesson plan for this course
  • Projects, assignments, guest lecturers, and field trips she recommends
  • Feedback from students who have taken the course
  • Qualities of a great death and dying class teacher
  • Tips for starting your own class on death and dying

 Stacy Smith has a degree in counseling education and counseling psychology from the University of Colorado in Denver. She created a Legacy program for 5-18 year olds dealing with grief and loss. She has been in private practice for 14 years and specialized in grief counseling. She has been teaching in the Psychology Department at Colorado Mountain College for 5 years, including the class: The Psychology of Death and Dying. She is currently writing a book about destigmatizing mental illness and treatment.

Tune in next Monday for another new episode! Meanwhile, you can join the Reading Group, get the Teaching Guidelines, subscribe to the podcast and leave a review on iTunes!

Until next time remember …

Face Your Fear           BE Ready             Love Your Life

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Ep. 128 Why We Need Death Education for Everyone Right Now

Learn why the Death Education movement is vitally important right now for our society and get inspired to teach your own class about death and dying!

PodcastDeathEd

DEATHEDforeveryoneThis week I’m continuing my focus on death education by discussing some important reasons why right now we desperately need more death-ed in every aspect of our society. Learn how you might become a death educator in your own community and start to share your knowledge to help others become aware of death.

Slide01

 

Click here to get your free Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class to help you create your own class!

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS: 

You can still join A Year of Reading Dangerously and start reading books about death and dying with 700 other people around the globe! You’ll get to take part in live Q&A discussions with the authors of many of the books we are reading. For February we are reading Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty–and she’ll be joining our discussion at the end of the month! Sign up now by clicking here!

Thanks again to all of my supporters at Patreon.com/eolu! Your generosity and encouragement mean everything to me! Become a patron for as little as $1 per month–where else can you do so much good with just $1? Go to Patreon.com/eolu to learn more.

FEATURE PRESENTATION:

Today I’m discussing why we need death education everywhere in our society and here are some of the places where it should take place:

  • Home – parents need to learn how to talk about death and dying with their children rather than shielding them from the reality of death
  • Schools – high school and college classes are a perfect place to introduce death and dying to young, curious students who can only benefit from learning more about death. (Next week I’ll share an interview on this podcast with Stacy Smith who teaches The Psychology of Death & Dying to college students, and on EOLU at the end of February I’ll present an interview about a high school elective on Death and the Meaning of Life with the teacher and 3 of his students.
  • Churches – clergy of all faiths need to be educated about death and dying so that they can better support their congregants on end-of-life issues within their belief system
  • Workplaces – employers need to understand the impact of death and grief on their employees in order to create supportive policies for bereavement leave; workers need to know how to interact with co-workers who are suffering with illness and grief
  • Medical system – doctors, nurses, and all other providers of healthcare need education in how to get comfortable with death, talk about it with patients and families, guide decision-making, initiate conversations with patients
  • Hospitals and nursing homes – need education to create sacred spaces for dying, to support patients and families at the end of life and honor patients’ wishes

Some of the reasons why death education is so important right now are:

  • We are living longer and the incidence of complex diseases like Alzheimer’s is increasing which creates a need for better advance planning. Patients and families need to prepare for the type of medical care and caregiving that may become necessary and understand how they can provide for those possibilities in the future.
  • Medical technology continues to advance at a rapid rate. Our ability to forestall death and keep a body alive has far outstripped our willingness to grapple with difficult end-of-life decisions. We need education to help people plan and prepare for the future and be pro-active about the care they receive. Studies show that those who think and talk about death are more likely to put their wishes in writing, to talk with others about their wishes, and to stop medical treatment when it is no longer helping.
  • Ethical and moral dilemmas about end-of-life issues are splitting our society and families. Debates over physician-assisted dying and discontinuing medical care when it is not helping are going to increase with the aging of the Baby Boom generation. According to Pew Research Center surveys: 47% of Americans favor assisted-dying laws and 49% are opposed; 66% believe that there are times when doctors should stop treatment and allow patients to die a natural death, but 31% believe that doctors should always do everything possible to prolong life. These opposing perspectives are likely to be present in families too, especially if no advance planning has been done.
  • The high cost of being unprepared for death. Lack of advance care planning can lead to higher medical expenses, especially if the patient receive extreme care that was not actually warranted or wanted. Families unprepared for funeral planning are more likely to choose higher cost options and be vulnerable to unscrupulous marketing practices when they are grieving. Failure to plan ahead and put wishes in writing can cause increased stress and guilt for family members who must make decisions without any guidance.
  • The emotional and spiritual cost of ignoring death. As described in episode 127, death is our greatest teacher about life. Those who fail to recognize the inevitability of death are less likely to live to the fullest and appreciate the moment because they think they have plenty of time.

If you care about any of these issues and have been learning about death and dying by listening to this podcast and the End-of-Life University Interview Series, you are the perfect person to become a “death educator.” Start by sharing what you’ve learned with family and friends and consider putting together your own class in your community to help educate others. 

Slide01You can download my free pdf: Teaching Guidelines for a Death & Dying Class and get some tips and tactics for starting your own community death-ed class! When you download the handout you’ll receive an invitation to a special work group I’m putting together in March on brainstorming your class.

Click here to get the guidelines!

 

Stay tuned to future episodes of this podcast to get more information about death education: next week I’ll share an interview with Stacy Smith about teaching college students about death and dying. On February 22nd I’ll present an interview on End-of-Life University with the teacher and students from a high school death-ed elective.

I hope you feel inspired to become a “death educator” in whatever capacity suits you, whether you simply share your knowledge with family and friends or start a class in your community!

If you enjoy this podcast please consider leaving a review on iTunes – it will be greatly appreciated!

Until next week remember:

Face Your Fear          BE Ready           Love Your Life

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