Death and dying are two of the most debated topics in matters of personal choice. You can't choose when or where you are born, but many think that one should be able to choose the time and method of one's own death, especially if one is very sick and suffering. Frequently, this argument is not contested by loved ones or close friends, but rather members of the legislative, legal and executive branches.
In fact, lawmakers have repeatedly tried to overturn the state of Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, which legalizes physician-assisted death and dying with certain restrictions. Oregon was the first, and remains one of the few states, to allow people
to choose their death.
For many family members, living with loss is preferable to making a loved one suffer for months or years while alive. In making this difficult, highly personal decision, hospice and palliative care and assisted suicide networks can give them advice and resources. Hospice care is available to people aged 65 or older via their social security benefits. This can include a nursing home or a private residence. The costs are usually quite reasonable and, more importantly, it can make the death and dying process much more comfortable for both the patient and their family.
The process of adjusting to the death and dying of someone you love is complex and difficult, even when the death is not unexpected. If you know someone living with loss, the main thing is to show your concern for them and try to be available for them when they need you.
Approaching someone who has experienced a loss can be difficult, and some people would rather avoid that person than give support. We often wonder what is the best way of approach. Perhaps the best answer is to treat a grieving person like you normally would. It can be hard to find the right words when a person is in mourning and grieving painfully. There is no perfect formula to soften death and dying for everyone all the time. However, the fact is that most of the time, the best thing you can possibly do is to listen to what the grieving person needs to say.
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