Atul Gawande. Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End

Atul Gawande takes you through his close observation of three journeys towards elderliness, increasing fragility and eventual death of three relatives of his family: his grandfather who dies an easeful death after a long life in India, his immigrant father who dies of cancer and his mother-in-law, of Anglo-Saxon descent, who lives as a widow for many years before moving to a retirement home with frail care access.

He presents the dilemma faced by elderly parents and their adult children. The elderly parents want to hold on to their independence whilst the adult children are anxious for their parents’ safety.

being mortal illness medicine and what matters in the endGawande tells you of innovations in American care institutions, new places where people’s rooms are clustered together, where there are pets and plants and people can overhear the voices of young children in the day-care facility provided for the employees’ children.

It’s a more humane institutional approach to elderliness at a time when medical advances can keep us alive -but alongside our longevity we have to navigate more physical and sometimes more psychological fragility.

The new approach tries to resolve the dilemma of maintaining as much independence as possible for as long as possible in a safe environment. A win-win for the elderly parents and their concerned adult children – for those who can afford this option.

It's a must read whether or not you have elderly parents – it’s a must read for you to think and plan for what might eventually happen in your own life.