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Dying with Dignity: A Natural Part Of Living Is Dying And Death. Doulas Help People Die With Dignity

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Dying with Dignity…

Death is a natural part of life.

Dying with dignity is something we don’t talk about a lot. As an estate and asset protection attorney, I discuss death and the possibilities of being incapacitated prior to death with my clients all the time. To me this is very natural. To me, death is a natural part of life, yet many of my clients have difficulty acknowledging they really won’t live forever. Eventually, with a little practice, they get more comfortable with the idea.

Longer Life Poses Possibility Of Longer Chronic And Life Limiting Illness

There is no doubt that we members of the human species are living longer. As a result people are facing more chronic and life limiting illnesses which often extend the period of dying from as little as a few days or weeks to months or years. Since medical care strictly focuses its attention of either attempting to “cure” or treating/managing conditions, many people simply don’t know how to move forward while living with the full awareness that death will come, typically sooner rather than later.

A New Profession Is Born: Death Doulas Or End Of Life Coaches

This period of limbo between life and death has created a demand for guidance. A Death Doula is defined as “a non-medical person trained to care for someone holistically (physically, emotionally and spiritually) at the end of life. Death Doulas are also known around the world as end of life coaches, soul midwives, transition guides, death coaches, doula to the dying, end of life doulas, death midwives, and end of life guides.”

Much like having an estate and asset protection plan in place, having a death doula guide the dying person and family through this new territory is becoming more popular. So much goes on during the “dying year” that may be more profound and life affirming when you have someone attuned to the aspects of dying bringing those things to your attention.

Accommodating Aging Baby Boomer Generation

I see a trend happening more frequently in my profession where Baby Boomers want to remain at home during end of life rather than be in a residential care facility. This trend is contributing to the rise in demand for alternatives to traditional care givers. According to the role of a Death Doula serves many purposes saying that dying is, “a time of opportunity and growth to be embraced, not shunned. The end-of-life doula guides and accompanies the dying person and their family as they explore this territory and live to the fullest during this transition time.”

I truly appreciate the concept of a death Doula as sincerely as I appreciate the role of a doula in aiding the family as they give birth to a new child. I imagine the following three values that the Death Doula embraces must bring a great sense of peace to the dying person as well as their survivors.

Legacy: We are all born, and we all die; it’s what we do in the middle that creates our legacy. What we leave behind is far more than simply wealth and possessions. We can share our story or give wisdom, advice, love, and support even after we have passed. And in doing so, give the future a glimpse of your essence – who you were, how you saw the world, and what gave your life. Death Doulas can help patients with the powerful, uplifting process of developing a legacy plan.

Presence: The last phase of our life can stir fear and anxiety as we each face our end-of-life. This is simply because we have not walked this path before. Having someone present with the experience and training in such a time can bring a sense of comfort and familiarity to the otherwise unfamiliar. Death Doulas provide holistic support as they accompany individuals and their families before, during, and after death.

Dignity: Everyone wants to have a positive passing where they maintain dignity and honor as they exit life. We all have our own values, traditions, and belief systems that will influence our vision and expectation of what that would look like. Creating an environment that represents that vision is important. This along with developing a legacy and presence work, is what an End-of-Life Doula brings to you and your family.”


Looking to find an experienced estate lawyer in the Georgia area who is skilled in asset protection and estate plan preparation? Shannon Pawley is an attorney in Georgia with expertise in estate planning and asset protection. Shannon can provide assistance with creating an estate plan to include making a will and how to establish a trust properly. If you have questions about asset protection or questions about making an estate plan, reach out to Shannon and she will be glad to help answer all the estate planning questions you might have!

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