Friday, June 09, 2006

Life Tapes & Legacy Videos: "Dignity Therapy"

Yesterday's Oregonian had an excellent article in their "Living"
section on the value of audio and videotaping your personal
legacy for your loved ones and future generations of your family.

The article tells a touching story of a 40-year old mother with a
terminal illness who videotaped the life lessons she wanted to
impart to her 5 and 9 year old daughters. It also describes how
some hospitals,
as part of their palliative care for dying patients,
are doing "life tapes" -- recordings of the meaningful aspects of
people's lives.

According to Dr. Harvey Chochinov who was quoted in the article,
"For many dying patients the ability to leave a clear record of
what mattered in life is just as important -- if not more so --
than other aspects of end-of-life care."

Here's a link to the whole article:

"Fond farewell" by Gabrielle Glaser

A sidebar to the story describes Dr. Chochinov's study which
found that dying patients "felt a heightened sense of dignity
and purpose, as well as decreased depression and sense of
suffering" when they could give their relatives transcripts
of extensive conversations they had with therapists who
interviewed them about their lives.

Here's is a link to the sidebar:

"Dignity therapy" by Gabrielle Glaser

While the story focused on people at the end of their lives,
the matter of our personal legacy is "alive" for every one of
us, every day of our lives. Death is always just one last heart
beat away, one last breath away.

Doing an ethical will in written, audio and/or videotaped form
-- and sharing it with your loves ones -- offers many of the same
"dignity and purpose" outcomes as an ethical will.
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