If we’ve learned anything in recent months, it’s that death can come at any time. Yet, most people would prefer to avoid the topic entirely. That strategy might provide short-term comfort, but not for long-term planning. Professor Brian Carpenter maintains that everyone, no matter their age, should give death its due – learn about it, reflect on it, take charge and become informed.
The experience of dying and death in the United States has changed dramatically over the last 100 years. Technological and biomedical advances have transformed where and how we die, and attitudes and customs have shifted as a result. This class begins with an overview of the evolution of dying and death in the United States, highlighting changes in causes of mortality, the experience of dying, and attitudes about death as they’re reflected in not only healthcare, but also the arts, media, and culture. We then close with a more practical discussion about the importance of planning for the end of life and the innovative, evidence-based tools and resources that are available to help everyone master their last act.