Final Acts: Death, Dying, and the Choices We Make

Final Acts: Death, Dying, and the Choices We Make

by Nan Bauer-Maglin
     
 

Today most people die gradually, from incremental illnesses, rather than from the heart attacks or fast-moving diseases that killed earlier generations. Given this new reality, the essays in Final Acts explore how we can make informed and caring end-of-life choices for ourselves and for those we loveùand what can happen without such

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Overview

Today most people die gradually, from incremental illnesses, rather than from the heart attacks or fast-moving diseases that killed earlier generations. Given this new reality, the essays in Final Acts explore how we can make informed and caring end-of-life choices for ourselves and for those we loveùand what can happen without such planning.

Contributors include patients, caretakers, physicians, journalists, lawyers, social workers, educators, hospital administrators, academics, psychologists, and a poet, and among them are ethicists, religious believers, and nonbelievers. Some write moving, personal accounts of "good" or 'bad" deaths; others examine the ethical, social, and political implications of slow dying. Essays consider death from natural causes, suicide, and aid-in-dying (assisted suicide).

Writing in a style free of technical jargon, the contributors discuss documents that should be prepared (health proxy, do-not-resuscitate order, living will, power of attorney); decision-making (over medical interventions, life support, hospice and palliative care, aid-in-dying, treatment location, speaking for those who can no longer express their will); and the roles played by religion, custom, family, friends, caretakers, money, the medical establishment, and the government.

For those who yearn for some measure of control over death, the essayists in Final Acts, from very different backgrounds and with different personal and professional experiences around death and dying, offer insight and hope.

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Editorial Reviews

The Gerontologist

"Final Acts provides the reader with persuasive and enlightening views on the controversial complex issues that are illustrated in the personal stories. It is a collection of moving stories and compelling essays."
Transition Network Newsletter

"If there's one profound lesson to be learned from Final Acts, it is that most of us are woefully uninformed and unprepared to make wise end-of-life choices. A good place to begin is by reading this book."

— Eleanor Foa Dienstag

Global Action on Aging

"An insightful, complex, and pragmatic 'how-to' guide for dying in the Western world. Final Acts a is strong, well-composed, and balanced tool kit to help us all not only change our system to better maintain the integrity of the dying, but to enter into the end of life with confidence and control."
Transition Network Newsletter - Eleanor Foa Dienstag

"If there's one profound lesson to be learned from Final Acts, it is that most of us are woefully uninformed and unprepared to make wise end-of-life choices. A good place to begin is by reading this book."
President, Compassion & Choices - Barbara Coombs Lee

"The essays in Final Acts offer all manner of paths, exploring a new relationship with death. Wise and gentle guides, Bauer-Maglin and Perry reveal meaning and purpose in the journey."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813546285
Publisher:
Rutgers University Press
Publication date:
11/15/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
344
Sales rank:
943,675
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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