July 8, 2009

Dying with dignity

When I tell people I’m seriously considering becoming a hospice volunteer the reaction ranges from bewilderment to outright disbelief. Most people try to change the topic but a few good friends have asked me why trying to fathom what is behind what they think is a strange if not morbid idea.

Filling out the application for

I also spent a great deal of my career working in and with hospitals and have been dismayed frequently by the aggressive treatment the critically ill elderly patients receive.

So I was heartened to read on page 1 of today’s

“We approach our living and our dying in the same way, with discernment,” said Sister Mary Lou Mitchell, the congregation president. “Maybe this is one of the messages we can send to society, by modeling it.”

To which I say, Amen.
New York Times about the Sisters of St. Joseph outside Rochester, NY, who have created a retirement community for their elderly members, where dying can be done with dignity and reverence.
Hospice & Palliative Care of Westchester, I wrote, “I believe strongly that it is important to help people learn to die with dignity and have the opportunity to say goodbye.”

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