Handbook for Mortals by Dr. Joanne Lynn
Review by Phyllis Laudano, Staff Writer
"Handbook for Mortals: Guidance for People Facing
Two generations ago there would have been no need for a guide like Handbook for Mortals to have been written. The subject that this book addresses the process of dying and death -- was an everyday occurrence, common to all families and communities. Without the modern medical technology available to us today, people usually died at home, in their own beds, surrounded by loved ones who were all too familiar with this inevitable part of life. Death was rarely the drawn out process that it has become today. Generally, people often died at an early age, shortly after an accident or contracting a serious disease.
The process of dying may now take many years and is often fraught with complicated descions that will effect the quality and duration of ones remaining time. The ill person along with their family and friends are faced with issues that are foreign to the modern family. For most people in our society, the process of dying is not a common experience, leaving us ill equipped to cope with the issues that are addressed in this book.
Handbook for Mortals is an invaluable guide for all of us who inevitably will face the complicated issues surrounding mortality. The authors cover a number of essential topics such as:
Interwoven within the practical information provided by this book are the moving accounts of those facing death as well as the experiences of their loved ones. Their stories provide the reader with insight and inspiration along with examples to follow on how to turn the end of ones life or that of a loved one into a time of personal growth and reflection. In short, these accounts serve as a model for making peace with a profoundly important process that is rarely discussed or acknowledged in modern culture.
Chapter 17 of this book is a comprehensive, well organized list of resources which may offer the reader additional help during their trying time. The authors also offer guidance on what to do and say when contacting a new resource, along with advice on where to find help right in ones own "backyard". Under the subtitle Caregiving the reader will find a resource for Alzheimers Caregiving Strategies. Under Diseases are listed resources for Alzheimers and Other Dementias and The Alzheimers Disease Education and Referral Centers.
Topics Discussed/ Table of Contents
About the Authors
Joanne Lynn, M.D., is Director of the Center to Improve Care of the Dying (http://www.abcd-caring.org) at The George
Washington University Medical School. She is an internationally recognized expert in
improving care to the terminally ill. Joan Harrold, M.D., is a Fellow at the National
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