Elder Care Coordinator’s Book Review

We have recently updated our website: kabblaw.com. You should take a moment to check it out. We have updated photos of our staff, including our newest ECC, Carolyn Lechner. She has brought a wealth of knowledge and a positive personality to the team.

My dad and mom had recently asked me if I had read a book called “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande. I have read another book by the same author and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was curious as to why they had asked. In their hometown, Circleville, OH, the local hospital had partnered with the library to present a 6 part series of talks surrounding the book and its content.

The author is a general and endocrine surgeon at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a staff writer for The New Yorker, and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He leads the World Health Organization’s Safe Surgery Saves Lives Program. He writes his books from the perspective of a medical professional.

“This is a book about the modern experience of mortality, about what it’s like to be creatures who age and die, how medicine has changed the experience and how it hasn’t, where our ideas about how to deal with our finitude have got the reality wrong.” The author talks about how you don’t have to spend much time with the elderly or terminally ill to see how medicine fails them. I think he definitely portrays an important perspective on end-of-life, but I like the fact that it can be a tool to encourage people to talk about what they want at the end of their life.

I know most of our caregivers are also the Power of Attorney for Healthcare for their family members. We try to encourage everyone to have the talk about what our loved ones do and do not want when they are at the end of life. The guilt of ending treatment or even beginning treatment of some sort can be so much easier if you have discussed wishes. I always talk with my parents about what they do and do not want. They both have very different opinions and I feel capable of carrying out those wishes should they arise. So whether you decide to read this book or not, have a conversation with your loved ones. Tell your kids or caregivers what you want when your time comes. Make sure whomever you chose to be your decision-maker, will be able to carry out your wishes.

Beth Kamer is a licensed social worker with The Kabb Law Firm in Beachwood, Ohio www.kabblaw.com