Category Archives: palliative care

Kevorkian Back In Spotlight With Upcoming HBO Movie

This weekend, HBO’s Saturday night movie is “You Don’t Know Jack“, a biopic about infamous physician Jack Kevorkian (aka “Dr. Death”).   Kevorkian of course,  made history in the 1990’s for assisting the suicides of hundreds of patients.

I’m reading some pretty good reviews about the movie so far.  Supposedly, this film is not meant to present an argument for or against right-to-die causes, but rather to provide insight into the complexity of character behind a man often maligned in the media.  With Al Pacino in the starring role, I suspect he will bring quite an interesting perspective to Kevorkian’s persona.

Are you interested in seeing this movie?  What do you think about Jack Kevorkian?  Was he an evil, “Death Doctor” who just liked to play God?  Or might he have been a caring doctor  who simply viewed death as a way to relieve the pain for those whose bodies were dying anyway?


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Filed under advance directives, death and dying, end of life, end of life care planning, palliative care

Is Death More Taboo Than Sex?

It amazes me to think how far Western society has come in terms of medical advancement and technology.  Sometimes I question whether so much “advancement” is necessarily a good thing, but overall, there are a great deal of positives that come with our evolution in health and medical care.

Yet, for all the progress we have made, we’re often unable to face the one very real and unavoidable fact that no medical advancement can prevent indefinitely.

We can’t escape death and dying.  I don’t care who you are or what you do, the end result for each and every one of us is the exact same thing.

Why then, are so many afraid to talk  or even think about the subject of death and dying?   This palliative care nurse believes that death has become more of a taboo topic than sex.   I am inclined to agree.

Is it that we think by avoiding the subject, we’ll never have to deal with it?  If we run from death, we can escape it?  Deep down inside, we are all connected to one another because of this simple, democratizing truth:  we will all die someday.

(I’m full of sunshine, rainbows, and puppies today, aren’t I?) 😛

If we can start to recognize the ways that death binds us to all humanity, maybe we can overlook some of those trivial frustrations and annoyances that keep us from really appreciating the various people who make their way into our daily rounds.   More importantly, if we break the taboo grounds that seem to underlie conversations about aging, death and dying, we can live in a world that’s just a little more peaceful.

Acceptance instead of struggling.  Embracing rather than avoiding.  Looking toward the inevitable (and unknown) with a sense of tranquility as opposed to distress.

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Filed under aging, death and dying, loss theory, palliative care

ElderNews You Can Use

ElderNews is a semi-weekly round up of links around the web that touch on topics of aging, death/dying and health care.

  • Few are prepared for the heavy financial burdens of long term care. 
  • Tips for planning elder care strategies and initiating discussions on end of life issues.  Remember, these conversations are best held while your loved on is still relatively healthy and able to communicate their needs and wishes to you.
  • Forget Me Not Club works together to make lasting memories from ceramics class participants with dementia.
  • 31 year old woman with rare form of  Alzheimer’s Disease gives birth.

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Filed under advance directives, aging, alzheimer's disease, death and dying, dementia, ElderNews, end of life care planning, palliative care