Many individuals try, throughout their lives, to avoid thinking about the end of their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Imminent death is often an uncomfortable and unpleasant subject for many people, as there is quite a lot of uncertainty, fear, and grief wrapped in the final stages of our lives. It’s important to approach these subjects with care, compassion, and confidence. Below, we’ve collected a list of the top 10 books for caregivers, patients, and their loved ones on the end of life.
Books on End of Life Care
A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death by BJ Miller, MD and Shosana Berger
Whether you’re the patient, a caregiver, or a loved one responsible for organizing care, “A Beginner’s Guide to the End” to provides valuable insight into end-of-life care during every phase of end-of-life preparation. This book is a great choice for anyone who has questions about hospice care, applying for Medicare, funeral arrangements, long-term treatment, and more.
Last Acts of Kindness: Lessons for the Living from the Bedsides of the Dying by Judith Redwing Keyssar
This hospice book on dying is a great choice for anyone who is looking for information about the realities faced by loved ones during hospice care. “Last Acts of Kindness” details the author’s experience as a palliative-care provider. She uses her experience in caring for the dying to encourage readers to consider their own views on death. The book also addresses some of the challenges caretakers, loved ones, and patients may face due to the healthcare system and how many of these challenges relate to our own views on life and death.
Facing the impending loss of a loved one, whether it’s a family member, a close friend, or a life-long mentor, can often seem unbearable. This book on grief takes the lessons author Mitch Albom learned from his college professor and mentor, Morrie, during his Tuesday visits in Morrie’s final months of life. Instead of focusing on the act of grief and impending death, the two worked together to develop a book of “lessons” on how to live.
Best Books for Caregivers
Finding Peace at the End of Life: A Death Doula’s Guide for Families and Caregivers by Henry Fersko-Weiss
As a caregiver, ensuring patients receive the best end-of-life care possible is a top priority. “Finding Peace at the End of Life” uses death doula Henry Fersko-Weiss’s years of experience to provide caregivers with a roadmap to helping patients navigate their final days.
LGBTQ-Inlusive Hospice and Palliative Care: A Practical Guide to Transforming Professional Practice by Kimberly D. Acquaviva
This book is often considered a “must read” for end-of-lfie caregivers today. The book is easy to read and provides a guideline for healthcare professionals on how to make their practices LGBTQ-inclusive through evidence-based, actionable strategies.
“Life in Hospice” is a great book for those who want to know more about the realities of palliative care. Richardson uses her experience to provide a “behind the scenes” look into hospice care and serves as a great reference for caretakers and those considering working in end-of-life care.
Best Books for Patients
Coming to terms with death is often never easy, and patients often struggle to receive comfortable, compassionate care in their last days. “Being Mortal” offers patients an eye-opening take on the practicalities of medical practices that shorten life spans instead of improving them, and emphasizes the importance of choosing a good life over a good death.
Coming to terms with your own mortality is a deeply personal journey. In “When Breath Becomes Air,” Kalanithi tackles some of the more difficult questions patients have to ask. This is often considered one of the best books on grief for patients who are grieving the life they could have had.
In “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” Butler details her parents experiences with a healthcare system that blurs the lines between saving lives and prolonging the inevitable. The book helps patients come to terms with what past societies called “good deaths” by way of a personal, spiritual journey ending in personal acceptane of a life well-lived.
When faced with death, patients often worry about making sure their loved ones have all the information necessary to carry out their last wishes and sort through their affairs. This end of life planning book provides patients with the prompts, tools, and space to effectively convey their wishes for assets, provide next-of-kin with critical information, and even help loved ones handle any social media accounts. “The LastingMatters Organizer” is a great tool to help patients and their families feel prepared for the end.
Ultimately, these books about dying, hospice, and end-of-life care are only the beginning. End-of-life care may look different for each patient, and can lead to a variety of different mental, physical, and emotional needs. Books on grief, life, and living, like those mentioned above, aim to help patients, caregivers, and families make the most of their time when preparing for the end of life.