Katy Butler has written a book based on her personal experience and the choices she’s discovered.
She hopes to die in comfort at home, but discovered that 50% of people die in nursing homes and hospitals, often shuttled around between them. Their last days are often chaotic, painful and distressing. They can also needlessly drain family finances.
She says it’s important to think about this now and plan for your future. Think of death as a rite of passage. Her book covers chapters on these 12 subjects.
1. The three “miracle drugs” of later life: water, exercise, and community
2. The three best and riskiest surgeries, drugs, and screenings for people over 50
3. The five B’s of late-life independence: balance, brain, brawn, beans, and buddies
4. How to avoid medical overtreatment and stay off the “medical conveyor belt” that leads to death in intensive care
5. How to schedule a medication review and find a doctor who will care for your body as a whole, not just fix a list of parts
6. How to postpone disability and the common, little-known risks to the organ most critical to your continued independence: your brain
7. Why to start with what requires the most from you and the least from medicine
8. The five emotional tasks of dying: saying thank you, I love you, please forgive me, I forgive you, and goodbye
9. How to bring a sense of the sacred to a hospital death
10. How to create rites of passage for the transitions of later life, including death itself
11. When not to call 911
12. What is a dementia directive, and why you should consider creating one
Thoroughly researched and reliant on interviews with medical professionals, THE ART OF DYING WELL moves through Butler’s seven stages of late life: Resilience, Slowing Down, Adaptation, Awareness of Mortality, House of Cards, Preparing for a Good Death, and Active Dying. Each chapter begins with a checklist by which readers can identify which stage they may find themselves in, and concludes with a pragmatic list of actions that they should take in that particular stage. These chapters will teach readers how to avoid the medical conveyor belt that often harms more than it heals, explain why medication reviews are crucial to maintaining complete body health and how to go about setting them up, and discuss the various factors that one should consider when deciding where, and how, to die, among countless other necessary (if uncomfortable) tips.
Buy the Book: The Art of Living Well