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The Commons: The Best Place to Die?

Remodeling the nicest home in town for hospice

Holmes Park House
THE VAST MAJORITY (80 percent) of Americans say that we want to die at home—and yet the majority (64 percent in Oregon) don’t. That’s a lot of desire unmet. And among the minority who succeed in dying at home, their success may not turn out to be a cherished or comforting memory for anyone. Why? So many live alone; so many can’t afford the kind of home care that even comes close to being ideal; so many houses are not prepared for dying; and so many relatives and friends really aren’t prepared either. While nobody wants to die amid a bustling hospital or forgotten in a nursing home—and “home” is better than that—is home really the best place to let go?  …

Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, cocreator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor at large of Spirituality & Health. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.

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