Susan Swetnam

New Perspectives on Aging and the End of Life

Loss of dignity, depressing nursing homes, expensive measures to preserve life even as the quality of life declines—for many years, these concepts have been associated with aging in America.  During the past few years, though, discussion about growing old has been invigorated by a group of writers—medical professionals, ethicists, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, and geriatricians—who are suggesting revolutionary new interdisciplinary perspectives on what it might mean to approach the end of life in human as well as in medical terms.  This talk introduces the ideas of some of the most important of these writers, including Atul Gawande, Angelo Volando, Ira Byock, and Fran Smith, also drawing anecdotally on the speaker’s ongoing work as a hospice massage therapist in eastern Idaho.  Come prepared to be challenged by complicated, open-ended questions.