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The Death Oasis

At this hotel, you can choose when and how to check-out.

Photo of Helen Da Silva
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I am a healthy 48 year old female. But this could all change tomorrow.

What if this does change tomorrow? Then what?

In my current state of health, I tend to view death, my death, in the abstract.

Today, I allow myself space to ponder my death. Where, when and how would I like to die if diagnosed with a terminal illness? Ideally, at home. But what if this were not an option. Where then?

As I allow my mind to wonder off leash, I envision a world where physician-assisted death is legalized. As my illness progresses, ravaging my body, claiming my quality of life, I am left to make a choice. My choice.

My thoughts keep circling around the word 'choice'.  Choice: "the act of choosing ... the opportunity or power to choose ... to make a decision".

Where would I choose to die? The death oasis.

Several weeks ago I came across an article about 'patient hotels' in Denmark. We design around health. We design around pleasure. Why not design around death?

How would I reimagine the end-of-life experience? By designing around death. By constructing a death hotel, where physician-assisted dying would be accessible to those who would choose to end their lives on their terms, in a dignified, humane manner when their suffering becomes so intolerable, and their pain so immeasurable, when their quality of life is substantially diminished, or non-existent.

I am not an architect. But if I were, I would construct a building made of glass - glass walls and roof to allow light in, and to allow for unobstructed views of the lush green gardens surrounding the building. This is where I would choose to die. This is my death oasis ~The Oasis Centre for Compassionate Dying.

What is of paramount importance to me at my end-of-life is 'choice'. The right to choose where, when and how I die.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Having control of where, when and how you die, will this change, if anything, how you choose to live your life until the end? The progression of a terminal illness cannot be controlled, but you can control where, when and how you will die - will this choice ease the fear of death? Would you check-in to a death hotel?

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Photo of Ilija

Hi Helen, enjoyed reading your post. Providing a terminally ill patient with a choice where they can die provides them with so much dignity, which I believe would make the last stage of their life much more comfortable. I believe if most people were given the choice of passing away in a hospital or a death hotel, they would choose the later. 

Photo of Helen Da Silva

Thank you Ilija, so very kind!

I would like to share a quote that inspires me to live fully:  "The more we can embrace the idea that we're going to die, the more we can really embrace the idea that we need to live" 

Let's all continue to be a force for good!  

Photo of Morgan Meinel

Helen, I love this post! I believe in a perfect world, each person would be able to choose how, when, and where to die. As a hospice and palliative care nurse, I have aspirations and dreams of creating hospice houses like the one you described, so thank you for the inspiration! 
I recently had a conversation with my mother about this very topic - I told her that I would like to die near a natural setting and be able to see the outdoors even if I was too ill to physically be outside in nature. I told her that I would want music and my dearest friends at my bedside..I basically painted a picture for her of what I would want my dying process and death to look like! I then asked her what she would want for her end of life experience. It turned out to be a rather beautiful and insightful conversation, both of us making our wishes known to one another and easing our fear of the unknown. 

I think it's so important to illustrate and articulate these ideas we have in our minds of what we may want our deaths to look like - and to share it with those people we love and trust. This inevitable death will occur for all of us - so best we make it known while healthy and able to! 

Photo of Aaron Wong

Great ideas! Check out what this architect said in What Happens After 40? .
Too often, we accept things as they are, and this challenge is the perfect opportunity to redefine everything we know about dying including the spaces we die in and the conditions.



There's a great deal of knowledge as to how to design for better work conditions, and many of these qualities can be and should be factored into the end of life experience.

Photo of Helen Da Silva

Thank you very much Morgan!  I live in Toronto, Ontario (Canada), and it's truly a pleasure to connect with you.
I am a caregiver to an elderly parent, my mom ~ Grace.  My mom is 84 years old, and suffers from spinal stenosis, congestive heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and very limited mobility.   My dream  is to see built a residential facility for caregivers and their care recipients to live in community with other caregivers ~ caregivers supporting caregivers and their care recipients.  There is so much creative potential in engaging design  in reimagining the many stages leading up to the end-of-life.   I, too, have dreams and aspirations!  I believe dreams come true.  Let's all continue to actively engage and articulate our ideas!  Best to you and your mom.

Photo of Helen Da Silva

Hi Aaron! 
Thank you for posting 'What Happens After 40?'  !!
Absolutely love! Yes! I would love to see a residential facility for caregivers and their care recipients to live in community with other caregivers and care recipients. I am a caregiver to an elderly parent, my mom ~ Grace. My mom is 84 years old, and suffers from spinal stenosis, congestive heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and very limited mobility.
There is so much creative potential in engaging design in reimagining the many stages leading up to the end-of-life.
Yes, there definitely is a great deal of knowledge as to how to design for better work conditions, etc., and I absolutely agree that many of those qualities can be and should be factored into the end of life experience, and also, the stages leading up to the end of life.

Photo of Morgan Meinel

Helen, thank you for your thoughtful response and support! Your Mom is very fortunate to have you as her caregiver :) I admire your dreams and aspirations - thanks so much for sharing them!