living your best to the end

Live your best to life’s end.

There’s still lots of life to live–whatever health and medical decisions that may be ahead. For many, feeling ‘alive’ right to the end means feeling useful for as long as possible. For others, it’s peace of mind that brings a peaceful end. For most, it’s feeling wanted, valued, respected and listened-to that are all-important. The pleasures of everyday life can be just as meaningful: what makes you smile, what brings you happiness and joy and what gives you comfort.

It’s often that small stuff that can make a big difference: There are creative ways to accomplish what may seem out of reach – like the man on the rock who may not be able to be physically near an ocean, but may be able to turn to technology to inspire a solution. Paying attention to small pleasures shifts the focus from ‘what I don’t want at life’s end’ to ‘what will make a positive difference to me at life’s end.’ It’s an approach with its own reward: helping someone have the best end can help everyone involved.

Need Inspiration?


I want to..


How would you fill in the blank? Check out whiteboards and 60-second BestEndings videos: instagram @MyBestEndings


 What makes a ‘best’ ending?

Here’s the story of Ricky’s Mother

Ricky Hiess mother had a good death

Ricky Hiess: her mother had a Good Death


More good deaths and BestEndings

Need Information?

It can be a long road to learning about and planning for the best end-of-life experience. There’s lots to consider and emotions to tackle. Pick your own starting points: personal or medical decisions  or specific topics.  You can come back for more and then document your end of life wishes



pick a topic

Caring for aging parents: Chronic illness >

Heart and kidney failure, frailty, Alzheimer’s, Lung Disease, Diabetes

Palliative Comfort Care and Quality of Life

The Palliative and Hospice approach: comfort and quality of life is what it’s all about

Understanding Medical Terms and Jargon >

Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation: CPR, Do Not Resuscitate: DNR, Allow Natural Death: A.N.D

Traditions, Culture and Being Remembered>

Time honored customs can help at life’s end, ways to keep memories alive.

Modern Medicine can keep you alive

Heroic Measures; Breathing Machines,  Feeding Tubes, Medication

End of life: grief and bereavement

Knowing what End of Life looks like can ease the process; often grief starts long before the end.

Decision-Makers: Consent and Conflict

Surrogate, Substitute, Agent, Proxy: who will make sure your end of life wishes are followed.

Advance Directives, Living Will, End of Life Wishes

Create your own end of life, Advance Directives Living Will with an interactive form

High Risk Surgery: Best Case, Worst Case

Decision tool to help understand chances of dying after high risk surgery “People worry about ‘dying poorly’, so one of the reasons for agreeing to surgery is the mistaken belief they’ll likely die – peacefully – in the Operating Room. This rarely happens.” Dr Gretchen Schwarze To understand what can happen even if the surgery or operation is successful, Palliative doctor, Toby Campbell and Surgeon, Gretchen Schwarze feel stories are necessary to paint a picture for ‘consent’. To illustrate, Dr Schwarze tells this story: “She’s in her late 70’s, with chronic kidney failure and COPD. She’s making it a home with lots of support – but just barely. Now she has an aneurysm, that’s likely going to lead to a medical crisis. Should she have surgery for the aneurysm to prevent the medical crisis?” Using statistics to describe success or failure, her family’s told: 50% chance of not surviving surgery 60% going to need dialysis for renal failure 80% chance going to need ventilator (breathing machine) What the family hears is: 50% chance of survival 40% chance of NOT needing dialysis 20% chance of NOT needing “So, they went for the surgery, took about 8 hours, overall doing well, as best as could be hoped for. When her family came to see her in the ICU, you can imagine what they saw. She was puffy with a breathing tube, with lines and wires and machines. They said, ‘this is not what she would have wanted’ and asked the team to withdraw all supports.” We’ve been so good with innovating in so many areas, communication is not one of them.... read more
Vial of LIFE

Vial of LIFE

What is the Vial of LIFE Program It may sound like the fountain of youth, or miracle life-saver in a vial. It is neither. Instead, it’s information about your health care and wishes, stored in your fridge with a fridge sticker to announce its presence. LIFE stands for Lifesaving Information for Emergencies The Vial of LIFE sticker on your fridge alerts Emergency Response Teams (EMS) Paramedics and other health care providers who may come to your home

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Medically Assisted Dying: the benefits of the process

Medically Assisted Dying: the benefits of the process

When medical assistance in dying – MAID (also referred to as Medically Assisted Dying – MAD and Physician Assisted Dying – PAD ) was just a twinkle in eye in most of North America, I began my layman’s journey into learning all things end of life – encompassing much more than ‘help me die’. Now, with medical assistance in dying taking center stage, I’ve made it my business to attend every Town Hall, Presentation and Info session.

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