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.

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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

 

 

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..



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


Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients share hope and humour

“I’m 62. I was diagnosed at 46. You do the math” Christine Bryden, Person with Dementia 16 years of living with Alzheimer’s and Christine Bryden’s making the audience of 300 laugh and cry at A Changing Melody: A learning and sharing forum for persons with Early Stage Dementia and their partners in care. No surprise that Alzheimer’s is the second most feared disease (Cancer being #1). What I learned from the Forum helped put that fear into more practical perspective.   On overcoming fear and stigma: Fear of what others may think often prevents getting diagnosis. Get in early and get help early! Your life has meaning. Focus on relationships based on love and connectedness. Don’t let fear mask your worth. Reach out over the barrier of stigma to help overcome fears. (author’s note: doesn’t that apply to many health issues?) (An example from an audience member) “I talk to people in airplanes about having dementia. At first, they simply don’t believe it.”  (love it: educating a captive audience) From Mary McKinley, Canada (who organizes social events at retirement home, she uses an online journal set up by her son.) “Feeling is, we with dementia have no insight. That is so wrong! I have to use drugs to help deal with anxiety in others. Noise and sound are amplified. Multiple conversations are  really hard. Part of my brain that controls anxiety has no sense of proportion; Key words are: SLOW DOWN! The processor in my brain is struggling. When I need I quiet time, hiding out in the bathroom is a solution. However, my brain doesn’t send ‘bathroom’ signals.... read more

Room 217: Care Through Music

Guest blog by Bev Foster A lot of life happens in rooms and so does a lot of death. One room I will always remember is Room 217, where my mom, five siblings, and I sang around dad’s bedside as he was dying in a hospital northeast of Toronto. Whether it was the lingering words, simple melodies, or our faltering voices, what was undeniable was the calming and soothing impact of our music on dad in this sacred space. Music had been my way of connecting with dad in life, and it became my way of supporting him at poignant moments during the course of his illness. This final experience in Room 217 compelled me to ask some deeper questions. Why was music never offered to dad, live or recorded at the hospital? What did other families do while they waited and held vigil? Did they use music? Would they use music if it was designed for palliative care? Are there especially designed music resources for to accompany families in life threatening or complex care circumstances? The answers to those questions led me to create the Room 217 Foundation in 2009. Our mission is care through music. We do this in three ways: Producing research-informed, and artistically excellent music care resources targeted for specific situations and populations. These resources are ready and easy to use. Providing music care education for caregivers who want to learn how to integrate music into their regular care practice through the annual Music Care Conference, the Music Care Certificate Program, free monthly music care webinars, and workshops. Collaborating on research that optimizes or advances... read more

Coalition for Compassionate Care Summit with ePatients

  ePatients: Engaged and Empowered and Invited The Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC) promotes high-quality, compassionate care for everyone who is seriously ill or nearing the end of life. What a human-centered, patient-centered goal. And now, the Coalition includes the patient’s point of view –  their  first Summit with ePatients : we who are not afraid to look beyond, ask beyond and search beyond what we’ve heard in doctor’s offices. It’s a given that the ‘e’ includes electronic (email, forums, searches) connectivity after all, in between doctor’s visits patients live their lives, and turn to the digital world for support comfort and information. Palliative approach: ripe for ‘ePatient engagement’ Since Palliative care focuses on all aspects of comfort (or as palliative doc, Daphna Grossman put it: doing ‘Nothing’ is not an option) patients and families have ample time to learn about what may be ahead, and put put mind to what’s important long before the end may seem nigh.  Comfort itself can mean many things, in addition to the all-important pain management.  The palliative approach: perfect opportunity for ‘engagement’. ePatient: Educate and Encourage and Evangelize about Palliative Care Great keynote by #ePatientdave with @KathyKastner in foreground at #cccc16! pic.twitter.com/XEOcpm39ir — Elizabeth Bailey (@PatientPOV) May 12, 2016 This is one of the many reasons I was so over-the-moon at the decision to invite patients to the Summit, and was even more so when I was selected. This, especially so because my fellow ePatients are living with chronic conditions – whether themselves or those they care for – where I am not. Rather I am immersed in the crises,... read more