As we live longer and die slower and differently than our ancestors, we have come to rely more and more on end-of-life caregivers. These workers navigate a changing landscape of old age and death that many of us have little preparation to encounter. How We Die Now is an absorbing and sensitive investigation of end-of-life issues from the perspectives of patients, relatives, medical professionals, and support staff. Karla Erickson immersed herself in the daily life of workers and elders in a Midwestern community for over two years to explore important questions around the theme of \u201chow we die now.\u201d She moves readers through and beyond the many fears that attend the social condition of old age and reveals the pleasures of living longer and the costs of slower, sometimes senseless ways of dying. For all of us who are grappling with the \u201celder boom,\u201d How We Die Now offers new ways of thinking about our longer lives.
Karla A. Erickson is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Grinnell College. She is the author of The Hungry Cowboy: Service and Community in a Neighborhood Restaurant and co-editor (with Jennifer Pierce and Hokulani Aikau) of Feminist Waves, Feminist Generations, Life Stories from the Academy, 1964-2000.
Acknowledgments1 How We Die Now: Americans Aging and Dying in the Twenty-First Century2 The Paradox of Long-Term Care: We Need It; We Fear It3 Transitioning Together: Living, Working, Aging, and Dying at Winthrop House4 Lessons from the End of Life: What Workers Learn from Helping Others Die5 Mutual Interdependency: Belonging, Recognition, and the Rewards of Caring for One AnotherAfterwordGlossaryReferencesIndex