End of Life Educator, Eldercare Planning, Advocate, Navigator for Seniors and their Families, and Facilitator of ‘Food for Thought’ Discussion Groups:
Helping someone when they are dying, and supporting loved ones during this difficult time can be a heart-opening experience. Until you have experienced this yourself, it is hard to understand and difficult to describe.
Consulting Services Include: (Pricing to be discussed-per hour or per session)
*1:1 work which can include:
- Patient empowerment
- Values-based advance planning for the end of life care and funerals
- Creating personalized after death rituals and memorials
- Planning of celebration of life ceremony or party with family & friends.
- Caregiver education
- Organization of one’s life-personal items
- Writing of letters to friends and/or family members or creating a video
- Advance care plans
- Referrals to other professionals like notaries, accountants, lawyers, etc.
*Group events: Workshops/trainings for death positive events whether staff development or discussions on the topics of death, dying, and end of life, awareness raising, advocacy hosted by non-profits, institutions, community groups, and agencies.
*Facilitator for ‘Food for Thought’ Discussion Groups or Food for Thought Cafés– Death Café style get-togethers over coffee and food with the purpose of talking about death and end of life. These discussion groups are for 18+. The discussions focus on whatever members want to talk about or bring up, and/or can be geared towards learning skills/sharing information related to wills, advance care directives, celebration of life ceremonies, and include guest speakers or presenters.
*Memoir writing and legacy work
Book Reviews: (voluntary: Provide me with a copy of your book by snail mail or email, and I will review it no charge!
I have had many clients and extended family members die over the years, and I have found that often the individuals themselves and their families are not prepared. No discussions have occurred, no planning, no advance care medical directives written …the time to do all this is when one is alive and well or during the process of illness, not when an emergency occurs or when one is diagnosed as palliative or dying….
A 2015, Consumer Report Survey found:
86% want to spend their final days at home.
50% wanted pain management and comfort care over medical treatments.
61% never heard of Palliative Care.
47% of those 65+ have a living will or advance care directive.
42% have provided end of life care for a friend or relative.
Using myself as an example, I am an organ donor and this is listed on my driver’s license. I have told my partner this so he is aware. The flip side to this is, I am Jewish and usually one does not desecrate the body in any way, but to me, there is no greater mitzvah than knowing once I am not of this earth, that I can still be helping someone else. My organs can be helping someone to continue to live and thrive!
I am currently participating in a Certified End of Life Specialist training that should be completed soon.
I currently work as a social worker/case manager and group facilitator with older adults and have for 17 years. I have many years of experience working with older adults and their families. As I have been with many of my clients for years, I have witnessed their changes and adjustments to aging, the struggles, the falls (broken hips), loss of mobility, cognitive decline, illness, disease, placement in a residence or long-term care facility, and death, but through all this, I have also witnessed strength, determination, love, and perseverance!
End of Life Coaches or Doulas can help the family engage in conversations about death that otherwise might not happen. Talking openly about what is happening to the dying individual and how he/she is feeling is very important. After, but ideally, before the individual has passed away, I can help the family and the dying individual plan a funeral and/or a celebration of life ceremony and ensure his or her wishes are fulfilled. I can help the dying individual put in place an advance care directive or living will although it will still need to be notarized: it begins with talking to your family and friends; people of importance in your life and letting them know your wishes; ventilator or no ventilator? surgery or no surgery? Describe the procedures you want and do not want? Appoint a health care proxy or mandate who will be your voice, your mouthpiece when you are incapacitated. They do not necessarily have to agree with your wishes, but they must respect and agree to follow through with your desires.
A great article to take a look at: Consumer Reports Survey from 2015.
Victoria Brewster, MSW, CEOLS (In Progress), Author/Editor
Group Owner- End of Life Discussion Group for Professionals on LinkedIn
Case Manager with Older Adults- Cummings Centre
Journey’s End: Death, Dying, and the End of Life by Xlibris- July 2017
*More than 30 years ago, in a speech, John W. James, Founder of The Grief
Recovery Institute said, “Grief is the most off-limits topic for conversation
in the English-speaking Western World.”
**A reason to get discussions flowing……. to be born, we must die. No choice unless you know something I do not! 🙂 -Victoria Brewster