End of Life Resources, Links & Contacts

Compassion & Choices – A great list of resources and tools for end-of-life planning, including a dementia provision for an advance directive and help in selecting the best hospice for you.

Informed Final Choices – A wealth of information about end-of-life choices, plus details about the open-air cremation option available in Crestone, Colorado.

Transitions in Dementia Care – Don Desonier experienced the loss of his wife to early-onset dementia. He has used this loss to go deeply into helping others who are facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or related dementias. As part of his preparation for this work, Don attended a “Speaking of Dying” film screening and a Heartwork/Speaking of Dying Workshop.

Personal Safety Nets – Our mission is to spread the news that interdependence and community are stronger than isolated independence. We accomplish this by teaching skills and offering guidance on creative ways to fulfill our fundamental human need to build and maintain strong networks of support and creativity in our personal, community, and work places.

Acacia Memorial Park and Funeral Home – At Acacia Memorial Park and Funeral Home, we understand the importance of creating opportunities for people to gather and remember. It’s through sharing our memories and stories with our friends and family that we find strength. Our professional staff is here to assist you in creating unique expressions for your loved one as you gather and remember.

Washington State Health Advocacy Association – The Washington State Health Advocacy Association (WASHAA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting health advocacy in Washington State, empowering patients and improving healthcare outcomes.

End of Life Washington – End of Life Washington is a statewide organization that supports people preparing for their final days. We advocate for the right to a peaceful death.

Foss Home and Village – Having served the community since 1929, Foss has built an excellent reputation for quality care and innovative services. Located in north Seattle’s Broadview neighborhood, Foss is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We celebrate a diverse community, welcome individual differences and honor self expression.

Northaven Retirement Living – Since 1972, Northaven, a non-profit resident community in north Seattle, has been dedicated to serving the older adults in our community by providing affordable housing and compassionate care in a healthful, life-giving environment.

People’s Memorial Association -People’s Memorial Association still fulfills the aim of the forward-thinking people who founded it more than 70 years ago: to provide simple yet dignified cremation or burial options and to ensure that one’s final journey is not the most expensive ride one takes. America’s oldest and largest funeral consumer organization, having enrolled over 190,000 members since its inception. No longer exclusively a cremation society, the association offers a full range of services.  It has remained a vocal advocate of funeral reform.

Voluntary Stopping Eating and Drinking Ted Talk: Not Here By Choice – Phyllis Schacter’s story about her husband who decided to VSED (voluntary stopping eating and drinking) so he did not have to live into the late stages of Alzheimer’s. Learn more about Phyllis and VSED.

Patient on 7th Day of VSED – Kristina talks for 8.5 minutes on November 23, 2015, about her decision to use VSED as “a pretty beautiful way of going.”

Green Burial Council – Inspiring and advocating for environmentally sustainable end-of-life care through research, education, and certification. Headquartered in Santa Fe, N.M, GBC says, “A lot of people find solace in returning to the earth naturally.”

Greenwood Senior Center – The Greenwood Senior Center is a program of the Phinney Neighborhood Association, a nonprofit community organization whose mission is to build community by providing programs, services and activities aimed at connecting neighbors and fostering civic involvement in our community. GSC has been serving the Greenwood community since 1974. They provide a variety of programs for adults in the areas of fitness, the arts, technology, social opportunities and social services including a daily hot lunch program.

North East Seattle Together – NEST is a 501(c)3 non-profit grass-roots community in Northeast Seattle.  By providing a strong support network through volunteers and trusted business referrals, older residents can stay in their homes, and stay engaged in the neighborhoods they love for as long as possible.  The NEST idea is based on a national model called the “virtual village model.” Currently there are about 120 virtual villages actively serving across the United States and many more in the works.

Seattle First Baptist Church – Seattle First Baptist is a church community that seeks to follow the way of Jesus Christ, to be a people of God and to love and care for our neighbors. Seattle First Baptist is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and values traditional historic Baptist principles such as Soul Freedom — the right of each person to interpret the Bible and other teachings for her or himself, the Separation of Church and State and the Autonomy of the congregation. As a church they value their communal times of worship, music and education together, and they encourage individuals to discover and walk their spiritual path in solitude and in community, in small groups and large, and in individual spiritual direction.

Seattle Cremations and Burials – Cascade Memorial provides a modest and comfortable environment to plan and organize simple yet meaningful memorials for those you love.

Evergreen Health Hospice and Palliative Care – Hospice care helps patients live as fully as possible until the end of life and the hospice team helps families prepare for the death of a loved one. Most hospice patients are able to stay in their homes, in familiar surroundings with their family, friends, pets and comfortable routine. Our hospice team makes this possible by providing expert pain and symptom management, as well as emotional and spiritual support. Hospice care is also available at our home-like Gene & Irene Wockner Hospice Center, adjacent to the Evergreen campus.

KUOW’s “Talking About Death Over Dinner” – There are conversations doctors have with patients, that doctors have with themselves and that families should have with each other concerning end of life. KUOW brought together a panel do do just that: talk about death over dinner. Food was provided by chefs Debi and Hayden Smissen, who designed the menu while his own father was dying.

FILMS

Death Makes Life Possible – Death Makes Life Possible follows cultural anthropologist and scientist Marilyn Schlitz, Ph.D. as she explores the mysteries of life and death from a variety of perspectives and world traditions. The film looks at how popular culture deals with the ever-present fear many have about our own mortality. Interviews with mental health experts, cultural leaders, and scientists explore the meaning of death and how we can learn to live without fear. The interviews and evidence presented are interwoven with personal stories of people facing their own death as well as those who report encounters beyond death. The narrative is illustrated with vivid imagery.

How to Die In Oregon – In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. As a result, any individual whom two physicians diagnose as having less than six months to live can lawfully request a fatal dose of barbiturate to end his or her life. Since 1994, more than 500 Oregonians have taken their mortality into their own hands. In How to Die in Oregon, filmmaker Peter Richardson gently enters the lives of the terminally ill as they consider whether – and when – to end their lives by lethal overdose. Richardson examines both sides of this complex, emotionally charged issue. What emerges is a life-affirming, staggeringly powerful portrait of what it means to die with dignity.

A Will For the Woods – What if our last act could be a gift to the planet? Determined that his final resting place will benefit the earth, musician, psychiatrist, and folk dancer Clark Wang prepares for his own green burial while battling lymphoma. The spirited Clark and his partner Jane, boldly facing his mortality, embrace the planning of a spiritually meaningful funeral and join with a compassionate local cemetarian to use green burial to save a North Carolina woods from being clear-cut. With poignancy and unexpected humor, A Will for the Woods portrays the last days of a multifaceted advocate – and one community’s role in the genesis of a revolutionary movement. As the film follows Clark’s dream of leaving a legacy in harmony with timeless cycles, environmentalism takes on a profound intimacy.

 

BOOKS

  • Two poignant memoirs focused on aging parents in today’s health care system:

A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents — and Ourselves

Jane Gross, (2012)

Health journalist, daughter, and caregiver Jane Gross weaves the story of her mother’s final days into a moving account of the toll that caregiving takes on her life and the life of her brother. Includes practical, hard to access, vitally useful information. An emotionally touching story and indispensable handbook for anyone facing the prospect of caring for an aged and dying parent.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

Katy Butler, (2014)

A thoroughly researched and compelling mix of personal narrative and hard-nosed reporting. Sharing her journey with her parents, Butler conveys the strain on caregivers, feelings of guilt and grief, and the confusion between saving a life and prolonging a death. Hard to put down, this book captures well how flawed end-of-life care has become.

  • Three books by physicians exploring end-of-life options and choices:

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande, (2014)

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. He offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care

Angelo E. Volandes, (2015)

Volandes argues for a radical re-envisioning of the patient-doctor relationship and offers ways for patients and their families to talk about difficult issues, ensuring that patients will be at the center and in charge of their medical care.

Patient-Directed Dying: A Call for Legalized Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill

Tom Preston, M.D. (2007)

Preston advocates for improvements in palliative care for the seriously ill, as well as increased choice for those who are dying. Includes helpful stories and real-life examples.

  • A short booklet by a hospital chaplain regarding life support treatments:

Hard Choices for Loving People: CPR, Artificial Feeding, Comfort Care, and the Patient with a Life-

Threatening Illness

Hank Dunn, (2009, 5th edition)

This is a practical guide to help patients and families with end-of-life decisions, authored by a nursing home, hospice, and hospital chaplain. Dunn shares patient and family stories, cites journal articles, gives clear and practical advice with compassion and warmth.

Links to Relevant Articles

How to Talk About Dying (Ellen Goodman, New York Times)

My Right To Die: Assisted Suicide, My Family, and Me (Mother Jones Magazine)

A Comprehensive Newsletter about the Dying and Grieving Process

A Tribute to the Dying Process with Art/Music/Archetypes

How to Let Go When a Loved One is Dying (PBS)

How to Set Up an ICE Contact on Your Android Smartphone

Green Burial Resources

Suiting Dennis: A Family Story of Green Funeral

A Will For The Woods – A documentary about Green Burial

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The Film and Beyond

Upcoming Screenings

 

Thursday, July 13th

Film screening, followed by discussion led by Dori Gillam.

Time: 12-1:30 p.m.
Location: The Bridge at Village Cove, 6850 Woodlawn Ave. N.E., Suite B, Seattle

 

Tuesday, July 18th

Film screening, followed by discussion with director Jennifer Jones and producer Trudy James.

Time: 10:30 a.m.
Location: Shoreline Senior Center, 18560 1st Ave. N.E., Shoreline

 

Sunday, October 22nd

Film screening, followed by discussion.

Time: 2-3:30 p.m.
Location: Willowtree Market, 169 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island (no wheelchair access)

 

DVDs of the film are available at all screenings for a donation of $20.