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Choice: The supported journey

Facilitate conversations that allow the dying to die with dignity, support, and acceptance, while those left behind feel at peace.

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine the end-of-life experience?

EVERYONE! Two things every human has in common is that we make choices on how we want to live. Second, no matter what, our journey's will end. Let's change the conversations around dying so that we have the knowledge and support to chose our end with as much passion, truth, and love as we live our journey.

I often say that I ‘geek out’ on conflict. I know, the word is scary for many people, but for me I see it as an opportunity to better understand someone, to truly see what motivates them, what their passions are, and their fears. While I was in graduate school I was working at a hospice organization and watching my mom support her mother through old age and Alzheimer’s. Every day I encountered familial ‘conflicts’ that impacted individuals and the decisions they made at the end of their journey and I felt a heaviness. I would hear people struggle with their choices because they “didn’t want to disappoint their partner/child/parent.” One day I was talking to my mom and I simply asked, “What would Nana want?” and I realized that question probably isn’t asked enough.

I envision a supported journey as the opportunity to assist a loved one through what is potentially the scariest and most difficult choice of their life. The key being THEIR life. Whether we come out thinking we would have made a very different choice or not is not what matters, what matters is that we find a way to accept the choice of our loved one on how they want their journey to end. That we are able to join them on that journey, showing them the same love and support we did through every twist and turn that led to this point. We all deserve nothing less than that.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

I would like the chance to implement a pilot program within a palliative care, hospice, or even mediation program.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

The opportunity to collaborate with OpenIDEO's community of visionaries, experts, and doers to help identify the correct stakeholders and the right avenue to turn this idea into a reality. I have been milling this over in my head for over 5 years and I so welcome the opportunity to engage with individuals as passionate as I am about this topic to find a way to make this happen!

Tell us about your work experience:

I have had a very diverse career, ranging from advertising and real estate development, to my current position as the Director of Services for a Cyber Security start-up. I became passionate about this idea and made it my research focus while completing my Masters degree in Conflict Resolution.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

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Hi Debbie, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story. You should be able to use the Edit Contribution button on the top of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.