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Lessons Learned from Being a Caregiver for My Grandma

Irina's grandmother, Grunya

Irina Jordan was born and raised in Russia and moved to the US when she was 22 years old. She's the owner of Artisurn—online marketplace of handcrafted cremation urns, jewelry and keepsakes. Connector. Optimist. Avid reader.

My paternal grandmother, Grunya, had a stroke which paralyzed the left half of her body when she was 59 years old. She spent her entire life living in a village in the far east area of Russia raising her own chickens, milking her own cows, and planting her own fruits and vegetables. After her stroke, she had to leave her rural life behind and move in with us.

We lived in Khabarovsk, a big city by Amur River on the east side of Russia. I was 10 years old. In Russia, it's expected children take care of their aging parents and not place them in any kind of assisted living facilities.

I became my mother's helper: helping feed my grandma, get her around, make her bed, do her laundry and monitor her medications. My grandma lived with us for 5 years until she died at the age of 64.

Read more: Lessons Learned from Being a Caregiver for My Grandma

This Week in the Movement

Heather Mizeur

Throughout the week, we keep people up-to-date about the Death with Dignity movement and other topics related to end-of-life care through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Below are highlights from the last couple weeks.

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

A Will for the Woods

A Will for the Woods

A Will for the Woods is an information-packed documentary about green burials. This relatively new concept in the US is starting to gain traction throughout the country, and the film explores how the Green Burial Council is working with land trusts and cemetery professionals to develop new ways to honor clients' requests and preserve natural areas.

But more than that, it's an intimate and unflinching look at the journey a couple takes in planning for imminent death. Throughout most of the documentary, Clark Wang lives with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He's a young psychiatrist who seeks aggressive treatment, but during the course of the film it becomes more and more apparent the cancer isn't responding to the treatments and is spreading with increased vigor. His wife, Jane Ezzard, is a psychiatric nurse, and perhaps because of their medical backgrounds, they both face his death head on and with plain frankness.

Read more: A Will for the Woods

Join National Healthcare Decisions Day...Because Your Decisions Matter

National Healthcare Decisions Day

Nathan Kottkamp is the founder and chair of National Healthcare Decisions Day.

Please help us make history, again. April 16, 2014, will be the seventh annual National Healthcare Decisions Day. The inaugural event, which was formally recognized by Congress and numerous state and local governments, included participation by 76 of the most prominent national healthcare, religious, and legal associations and organizations. By the second year, we over 700 local and state organizations throughout the country also participated. At every level, the goal of this nationwide initiative is to ensure that all adults with decision-making capacity in America have both the information and the opportunity to communicate and document their future healthcare decisions. The first year's results were impressive—over 750,000 people obtained resources to make their healthcare decisions known—but there remain millions of Americans to go.

Read more: Join National Healthcare Decisions Day...Because Your Decisions Matter

This Week in the Movement

Cindy from The Trouble with Dying

Throughout the week, we keep people up-to-date about the Death with Dignity movement and other topics related to end-of-life care through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Below are highlights from the last couple weeks.

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

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Defend dignity. Take action.

You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, nonprofit organization, has been the leading advocate in the Death with Dignity movement. Individual contributions helped us pass new Death with Dignity laws in Washington and Vermont, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the Death with Dignity movement.

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