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What would a "good death" look like for U? As the authors of our lives... it's time to create our own final chapters and good ending.

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

U. is designed to start a conversation and empower people to take control of their end-of-life experience.

We are living in a time when "personal freedom" is a big political hot talking point-- yet, we often hand the ultimate life decision over to medical staffs and chance.

We should be able to declare what a life worth living looks like, what care we want, and then ultimately when and in what manner it's time to end our story.

Uthanasia asks what a good death would mean for U?

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It's not just the enormous cost of Boomers' aging and the huge impact it will have on our economy, it's the fact that people don't want to fade away in illness without a say. This generation's children are stuck with the memories of grandparents not dying on their own terms and their parents expressing the idea that they don't want to live like that when their time comes.

Brittany Maynard has also changed the tone of the conversation from an ignored elderly issue to a quality of life and personal choice issue.

Medical, political, and religious leaders all want their say on how death should go, but why should we let them dictate what a good life ending looks like for us? 

Maybe hospital bed bound is acceptable for some but not the way Uncle Charlie wants to spend his last months. Maybe Mom doesn't want to live with dementia from Alzheimers. 

We should have the right to state what a life worth living means to us and then determine where, when, and in what manner we want to be able to end our story. 

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Attached is a full slidedeck of the idea but the gist is: we each have the option to decide in what manner we want to end our lives. There are safe guards in place (Power Panel: medical, legal pros, and loved ones who sign off) and the default should be full care for all.... but we need to as a nation start talking about, setting up options, and designing facilities, laws, and procedures for letting people choose how they want to die.  

Note: I love the ideas of a Rehearsal Dinner and Last Resort submitted by Julia and Angel and they would work in well with the conversation of how and where we want our good ending. 


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

Have a sample of people create their Uthanasia plans and see what objections are raised with family, friends, professional care givers, and others that would be affected.

Create the conversations before the action plans can be legally implemented; and where there are laws that would apply see if the idea can be eased into what is already happening.

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

The biggest need is to change the conversation around end-of-life personal freedom. Legal, political, storytelling, and PR support would be needed to start a wave of change on this topic.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am the author of:
My Last Wishes... A Journal of Life, Love, Laughs & A Few Final Notes (HarperCollins)

Also have background in sales, training, and consulting.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

Attachments (1)

Uthanasia 2015.pptx

U. slidedeck


Join the conversation:

Photo of Marije Haas

Joy Meredith Thank you so much for this contribution. You hit the nail on the head, why wouldn't we be able to design our own death? I uploaded a contribution in the research fase about this subject, but specifically targetted at Alzheimer patients ( I would love to become a team member and help think of solution for some of the complex issues that arise with planning euthanasia. Thanks for your consideration.

Photo of Joy Meredith

Thanks for the kind words! ALZ is one of the big challenges of our time and important to me personally. You're right, it's going to be a sticky issue and bring up a lot of stuff for people. Glad to see you and others are thinking about it as well.  
This system is new to me so not sure what "teammate" entails but would enjoy trying it out :)