Have you ever considered how you might like to die? You may have made a will, but do you have an advance care plan stating your wishes and preferences for when your life comes to an end? You may have a ‘bucket list’ of things you want to do before you die, but where and how would you like to be cared for at the end of your life and who would you like to be with you? You might have worked out how long you are likely to live and therefore how best to eke out your pension; but have you considered how you might spend your final months and weeks of life? Is dying something for which we should be preparing, or are you – like Woody Allen – just not wanting to be around when it happens?
By such questions I set the scene for a piece in Issue 8 of Discover Society which is out this week. Discover Society is a brilliant online vehicle for critical social science writing aimed at a general audience. Its editors have been inspired by the now long defunct New Society magazine, which proved a huge inspiration to many in the 1970s and 1980s when looking for informed writing on contemporary social issues (and where I had my first ever publication in 1980). I was therefore delighted to offer them a piece on modern dying, and hope it will reach out to a non specialist readership. Increasingly I see this as a major challenge for social scientists involved in end of life studies. Certainly, that approach to wider engagement will be a strong feature of my forthcoming Wellcome Trust funded study on global aspects of end of life interventions.
You can find the Discover Society piece here: http://www.discoversociety.org/2014/05/06/how-would-you-like-to-die/
The picture here and in Discover Society is copyright (C) brightest comms + film. All rights reserved 2014. My thanks to Clare Sturges for all permissions.