End of Life: How to Spend Your Last Days

Be Smart. Be Well.
Be Smart. Be Well.

If there’s one thing we all have in common, it is that we are going to die someday.

While many people have specific ideas for how they’d like to spend their last days, research suggests the majority of people do not get to spend their last days the way they wish to.

That is largely because people are not making end-of-life wishes known to loved ones, say experts featured in new videos at Be Smart, Be Well site.

With its latest topic, End-of-Life Decisions, besmartbewell.com examines why people find talking about end of life so difficult and provides viewers with advice how to talk to family members about wishes for end-of-life care.

“The difference between a good death and a hard death is having had ‘the conversation,'” says Jessica McCannon, M.D., a pulmonary critical care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the experts featured at besmartbewell.com/end-of-life-decisions.

According to a national telephone survey conducted by The Conversation Project in 2013, 90 percent of people think it is important to talk about their own and their loved ones’ wishes for end-of-life care. Yet less than 30 percent have actually had these sorts of discussions.

Be Smart. Be Well. sat down with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ellen Goodman, co-founder and director of The Conversation Project and one of several experts featured in two new videos.

Goodman and others spoke about why people find talking about end of life so difficult and how we can start talking to family members about end-of-life decisions.

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Rakesh Raman