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    New ways
    in hospice work

    June 1, 2022

    After one of my last readings, I was told about a young man who, in his mid-40s, had now reached the home stretch of his life. He had been a passionate pothead since his youth and now could not find a hospice where he could smoke excessively in his room until the end.


     


    A filmmaker friend of mine recently told me that she wanted to visit a terminally ill young man in the hospice, accompanied by a cameraman, so that he could record a video with a short message for his daughter. This was forbidden to her by the hospice management because they feared that other residents might feel disturbed by the camera being brought in, and they argued with the duty of care for other residents.

     

    I was told from another hospice that a resident who very rarely had only visitors wanted to order blue slippers via Amazon Prime. However, since he had no cell phone reception in his room and the hospice was not equipped with WIFI, he had to ask the nurses several times to get him blue slippers in town.

    We say 50 is the new 30, and there’s some truth to that. Our lives have changed. The Rolling Stones are still rocking out on stage when they’re over 70.

     

    But that also means we can’t compare today’s dying to the wartime generation. The needs, especially of young dying people, have changed.

    There are now people with cancer who deal with their illness quite openly and offensively, blog about it and go live on Facebook while still on their deathbed to say goodbye to their followers.

    These are completely new ways of dealing with death. These are courageous and innovative people who are shaping their own fate and their final journey.


     


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    The Context


     

    But that also means we can’t compare today’s dying to the wartime generation. The needs, especially of young dying people, have changed.

    There are now people with cancer who deal with their illness quite openly and offensively, blog about it and go live on Facebook while still on their deathbed to say goodbye to their followers.

    These are completely new ways of dealing with death. These are courageous and innovative people who are shaping their own fate and their final journey.


     


    For years, associations, initiatives and politics have been primarily responsible for the direction of the hospice movement.

    We ourselves also like to shirk this task. Many people are afraid of the subject and of the certainty of losing a loved one or dying themselves.

    Clubs, associations. Initiatives and politics, however, are in most cases cumbersome and either church-based or social.

    In the digital age, many cannot keep up. Times are changing rapidly and often dying people are 20 years ahead of the hospice where they spend their last days.






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    Now it comes down to the middle of society. Artists, chefs, cab drivers, designers, red light swallows, photographers, singers, dancers, sausage sellers, we all need to put our two cents in to make hospices match our reality. So that there are rooms for stoners, drunks and whores. So that Playstations, Smart TVs and WIFI are part of the basic equipment, so that we can live as self-determined as possible until our last breath. Self-determined shopping, self-determined listening to music, self-determined drinking good coffee.


     


    We need new ways in the dying organization, new roads in the dying support!

     

    When we are sitting in the car and have already driven off, it becomes difficult when we want to leave the existing roads, because they do not seem to bring us to our self-determined destination. It is also possible, but especially in the last phase of life strength is very precious and can be used much better at other points. If we already build our road, our very own path, and make it available to others, we may even enjoy the journey a little in the end.

     

    Life is so colorful and diverse. So must dying be.

    Let’s be brave, think up, build and travel new roads!

    Here’s to life!

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