De-Medicalizing Death

Interesting.  Just read an article from the Health Affairs blog of a UCLA study on assisted dying practices. They found:

…[A]s the UCLA committee expected, most of what patients needed was to discuss their feelings about their approaching death and process their grief and sense of loss. This mirrors data from the entire state of California as well as Oregon, which suggest that the distress prompting patients to request these lethal medications primarily stems from their fear over losing control at the end of life. It is not, as many may think, due primarily to physical suffering.

Only a quarter of the patients ultimately went on to ingest the lethal drugs they came requesting. The actual data is more complex: Some who requested this service did not meet the basic requirements to receive it. Others died before they had a chance to ingest the medications. But the staff from UCLA reported case after case in which patients’ goals shifted from wanting to hasten their deaths to deciding to live out the remainder of their lives.

This is exactly what I found when I did research in The Netherlands on euthanasia.  Essentially, by talking about what you need at the end of life (your hopes and fears), you find clarity and social connection making the hastening of death unnecessary for many. Healing comes (even at the end of life) in talking through what matters most to you with the people who matter most to you.



The Minka House – A Low-Cost, Backyard Alternative for Someone You Love

Bill Thomas is at it again.  Thank goodness!  After attempting to transform the nursing home from within, he has decided — and I agree — let’s get rid of the nursing home and build something entirely new.  It’s called The Minka House, a modular, one-person, fully-accessible smart home that can be custom ordered and assembled in your backyard, without breaking the bank.  It’s beautiful, wheelchair accessible and might allow you — with home supports — to keep mom or dad close to you but living independently on their own terms and in their own space.


Building on the tiny house movement, the backyard-guest house approach to aging is an idea that’s been gaining traction and one worth taking a closer look at.  This home is a modular design that can be customized, then placed in a shipping container and shipped anywhere in the world.  You choose the layout for your home and then 3-D technology is used to “print” your home using standard building materials.  On arrival it can be assembled in a matter of days with regular hand tools.

It is a simple one bedroom/efficiency that is fully wheelchair accessible with a row of windows across the front.  The interior is simple and clean and you can make it your own.

To learn more, listen to this podcast or contact Build My Minka House.