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Week 6: Death and Dying
We are now at the last week of the course and have also reached the end of the lifespan. Our journey thus far has taken us through many developmental theories, and now we will consider the end. How will we die? Who will care for us when we are too weak to care for ourselves? Current debates and controversies surrounding death will be examined this week, as well as a consideration of how elders are cared for across the globe. As you develop your posts this week, consider what your ideal situation would be at the end of your own lifespan and which culture would best address your needs. Could the practices from around the globe result in a better quality of life for the elders in your own surroundings?
This week you will analyze different cultural, moral, ethical, and legal perspectives regarding the concept of Death with Dignity. Also, you will compare cross-cultural traditions related to caring for the elderly and end-of-life care.
- Analyze perspectives and issues regarding Death with Dignity
- Compare cross-cultural traditions related to elder care and end-of-life
- Identify concepts, principles, and processes related to euthanasia, dying with dignity, and cultural traditions of death and dying
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Arnett, J. J., & Jensen, L. A. (2019). Human development: A cultural approach (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
- Chapter 13, “Death and Afterlife Beliefs” (pp. 574-606)
Chen, W.-W., Wu, C.-W., & Yeh, K.-H. (2016). How parenting and filial piety influence happiness, parent–child relationships and quality of family life in Taiwanese adult children. Journal of Family Studies, 22(1), 80–96. doi:10.1080/13229400.2015.1027154
Kagawa-Singer, M., & Blackhall, L. J. (2001). Negotiating cross-cultural issues at the end of life: ‘You got to go where he lives’. JAMA, 286(23), 2993–3001. doi:10.1001/jama.286.23.2993.
Liu, Y. L. (2013). Autonomy, filial piety, and parental authority: A two-year longitudinal investigation. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 174(5-6), 557–581. doi:10.1080/00221325.2012.706660
Pan, Y., Jones, P. S., & Winslow, B. W. (2016, July 13). The relationship between mutuality, filial piety, and depression in family caregivers in China. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1177/1043659616657877
THIS DISCUSSION IS DUE WEDNESDAY 11/18/2020 BY 11PM
Main Discussion 1
Discussion 1: Death With Dignity
In recent years, several terminally ill people have made headlines as they sought help with ending their lives. Some have been children, yet people from every stage of adulthood have turned to physicians to help with dying on their own terms, which has been termed “Death with Dignity.” In the United States, there is an ongoing moral and ethical debate surrounding the practice. Most states have an advocacy group attempting to make Death with Dignity legal. In this Discussion, you will explore what these options really mean, what some of the moral and ethical debates are surrounding it, and what the role of advanced directives is in ensuring terminally ill and aging patients are treated the way they would prefer.
To prepare, review the resources provided in this week, such as those from Lee (2014, 2015) and McManus (2012), regarding the concept of Death with Dignity and its implementation in places such as Oregon. Consider how modern Death with Dignity practices align or conflict with those used by physicians in the past (e.g., Dr. Jack Kevorkian). What is the difference between passive and active euthanasia? Discuss the role you think a physician plays in Death with Dignity.
By Day 3
Post an analysis of perspectives and issues regarding Death with Dignity. Your analysis should include the following:
- Briefly describe the two sides of the moral, ethical, and legal debates over Death with Dignity.
- Describe what alternatives could be offered in the event that Death with Dignity could not be offered to a patient. Explain.
- Explain in what situations you would or would not support Death with Dignity. Be sure to provide specific examples from the week’s Resources to support your explanation.
THIS DISCUSSION IS DUE ON THURSDAY BY 11PM 11/19/2020
Discussion 2: Cross-Cultural End-of-Life Comparisons
“Please don’t put me in a nursing home” is an increasingly common sentiment among aging individuals in the United States. Given the pace of our culture and individualist aspects, in modern times, it is becoming somewhat rare for children to care for their elders in their own homes. Globally, there are other cultures with much different elder care practices than in the United States. Nursing homes that offer free rent to college students and filial piety laws that guarantee a parent will be supported by the eldest son are just two of the very different approaches other cultures have with the elders in their world.
To prepare, review the resources provided this week, such as those from Chen et al. (2016), Reed (2015), and Woodthorpe and Rumble (2016). Examine the traditional elder care practices within your own culture and a global culture of your choosing. Consider how each group approaches concepts such as elder care, filial piety, and the social beliefs surrounding death and dying.
By Day 4
Post a comparison of cross-cultural traditions related to elder care and end-of-life. Your comparison should include the following:
- Identify your chosen culture, including any relevant geographic, language, or religious characteristics.
- Describe how your chosen culture approaches elder care, death, and dying, including specific examples from your research.
- How does this culture’s approaches compare to the “standard practice” in the United States. What social beliefs and policies might account for the difference?
- Explain how the chosen culture’s traditions and beliefs toward end-of-life care are similar or different than the standard American traditions. Be sure to provide supportive examples from this week’s Resources.