Allowing Natural Death...
…is a plan for life’s end which seeks to provide comfort and dignity above all else
…acknowledges that death is the inevitable result of the aging process
…supports a kinder and gentler way to die
…relies less on medicine, technology and hospitalizations and more on the relief of pain and discomfort
…is helpful language to use in shared decision making for elders as they speak about their desired death
…is not the same as Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders
…must be negotiated with families and providers who agree to honor the wishes of the elder person for a good death
…chooses to maintain the loved one’s quality of life even when it means that death will come sooner
…is not euthanasia
…does not rule out the use of substances that bring comfort
More than anything else Allowing Natural Death requires courage and love that can take us to the places that scare us most – so that we are able to enjoy each precious day that we are given in this life.
Betsy Palmer – RIP and thanks for the reality check
Recent announcement of Betsy Palmer’s death at age 88 shows a rare honesty as cause of death was listed as “natural causes”.
Simple wording like this could give folks the idea that we might die from getting OLD. (!?) It is indeed highly likely that the accumulation of years and years of wear and tear on our bodies will result in ….wait for it…DEATH. Don’t mean to scare anyone, but imagine the difference this awareness would make in how we spend the very last part of our lives – the part when our need for the assistance of others grows as our ability to perform the most simple of acts like walking to the bathroom declines. An acceptance of growing signs that the body is wearing out, may be our cue to put our lives in order, to allow others to show their love for us by giving some of that now needed assistance rather than angrily refusing it. When our balance is comprised and falling is becoming a real concern – we could accept the arm of support that is offered rather than brushing off the kind gesture. We could recognize that our heart’s decreasing strength of contraction is causing us to often feel cold as circulation and metabolism slows. We can accept that growing pain from arthritis is part of our bodies decline and to allow our minds to consider that death is nearing. We may even find that the symptoms of chronic conditions that we have lived with for so long are no longer kept at bay by medications. these are all Natural Causes of decline and death and no amount of drugs or treatments or denial will stop the inevitable end of our lives.
How different would today be if we accepted that death is coming closer as we become frail…and it is natural?