The Salami Salesman and His Daughter Falafel
What an older man’s death can teach us about how and how not to care for the frail and dying
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As a practicing physician of internal and geriatric medicine at a major urban teaching hospital, I take care of frail older patients and see a lot of dying. From my experience, health care providers, caregivers and families don’t understand how to properly care for older adults with multiple medical problems. As a society, we need to fifi nd more value in care giving. Furthermore, much too often what we see is distressing, dehumanizing and lonely deaths that have become the norm for older people, who are routinely subjected to tremendous unnecessary suffering and forced into conditions that rob them of their last shred of dignity. Useless tests and surgical procedures become the main focus of dying. A meaningful death experience— where people gather to comfort and support the dying person—is replaced by ceremonies of blood draws and invasive procedures. My dad’s last year of life drove this point home in a way that I could not ignore. ThTh is book follows his health care experience as a means of illustrating the challenges families face today when they try to help their loved ones navigate the health care system and their fifi nal years of life with dignity and comfort.
- AuthorHouse, February 2011
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