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Vermont House Human Services Committee Advances Death with Dignity

All the recent legislative activity surrounding Death with Dignity shows Americans are ready for a meaningful conversation about how we die. Your support makes it possible for us to work with people throughout the US to advance these discussions.

Some highlights:

Read more: Vermont House Human Services Committee Advances Death with Dignity

This Week in the Movement

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

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

Vermont House Committee Decides to Focus on Bill Language with Safeguards

Dr. Angell testifying in VT. Photo care of Patient Choices

Great news from Vermont today! After hearing testimony from various end-of-life care experts, advocates, and some opponents over the last two weeks, the Vermont House Human Services Committee decided to focus on bill language with safeguards modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity legislation. All of us here at the Death with Dignity National Center applaud the Vermont House committee members on their decision and extend an enormous thank you to our partners, Patient Choices Vermont, for all of their hard work to get to this historic moment.

But let's step back a moment, and get everyone caught up. Back in February, the Vermont Senate advanced Senate Bill 77 after drastically amending the language of the bill to remove the safeguards similar to the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts, and moved the bill to the state House for consideration. The bill was introduced and filed with the Vermont House Human Services Committee. Because the House Judiciary Committee is likely to be involved if Human Services decides to change the bill back to be more in line with the existing Death with Dignity laws, the two House Committees held joint hearings to gather testimony.

Read more: Vermont House Committee Decides to Focus on Bill Language with Safeguards

Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Mental Health Advance Directive

Portrait of Alzheimer's by GollyGforce on Flickr

This blog post is the third in a series of guest posts by Arashi about end-of-life care planning and documentation in honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day.

Last December, Compassion and Choices of Washington unveiled a new kind of advance directive for life planning while living with Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia. This document is the first of its kind focused on these specific challenges. With a similar purpose as the living will, the Alzheimer's and Dementia directive aims to have a person's intentions known when the person isn't in a place to speak for him or herself.

The Alzheimer's directive is different from the usual advance health care directive. An advance health care directive is used to specify what medical actions should be undertaken if the patient is too ill or incapacitated to make those decisions. A typical question for those completing these documents is whether or not the patient wants aggressive medical treatment—such as a feeding tube or artificial ventilation—when the patient is dying or in a persistent vegetative state.

Read more: Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Mental Health Advance Directive

Ensure Your Long-Term Support with a Bequest

Dee, Death with Dignity supporter since 2001

Dee has supported and advocated for clearly written and safe Death with Dignity laws since 2001.

I watched my mother, father, and two brothers die slow, horrible deaths. I've included the Death with Dignity National Center in my estate plans because I want to ensure future generations won't have to suffer like my loved ones did.

My way of advocating for Death with Dignity is to help ensure the Death with Dignity National Center's long-term financial strength. A wonderful way to accomplish this is to do what I've done and include them in your estate plans. In doing so you'll leave a legacy of dignity to future generations.

Two of the most common ways are bequests and planned gifts. It's never too late to plan ahead, and tax time is a good annual reminder to look at one's estate plans. It's very easy to include Death with Dignity National Center in your bequest; here's some sample language to use:

I give, devise, and bequeath to the Death with Dignity National Center, 520 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 1220, Portland, Oregon 97204, EIN #: 93-1162366, ______% of my estate or the sum of $____________ (or describe stocks, bonds, life insurance, or other assets) to be used for the general purpose of defending and promoting Death with Dignity laws throughout the United States.

Read more: Ensure Your Long-Term Support with a Bequest

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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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