Changing Traditions: The Rise of the Death Doula

As the Baby Boomers reach their golden years, attitudes on death and dying are beginning to shift. Perhaps because of this, end-of-life care is taking a more compassionate approach than in generations past. 

Volunteers, nurses, social workers and hospice workers are embracing a more caring attitude, with a view of death as a transition and a special eye toward how it affects family members. Just as the beginning of life is often facilitated by a doula (otherwise known as a childbirth coach), having a doula present for the end of life is also starting to become popular. 

These doulas are called by many different names, including death doulas, end-of-life doulas, death midwives and palliative care doulas. They provide companionship to the person who is dying, giving family members a break from being ever-present during this stressful time.  

Being freed from around-the-clock care gives family members the opportunity to get some rest, both physically and emotionally, so that they can recharge. Doulas can be present at the family home, which is comforting because it means that the person who is in the end stages of life doesn’t have to spend his or her final days in a hospital or other unfamiliar surroundings. Instead, the transition from life to death occurs at home, surrounded by loved ones and favorite things.  

Doulas can also be knowledgeable about administrative tasks and paperwork. This is beneficial because they can help with advanced directives, funeral planning and other end-of-life necessities. It’s also extremely helpful to the family because the doula understands the legal paperwork necessary to bring a loved one home from the hospital to spend his or her final days.  

Another meaningful act that doulas can perform is to help families bathe and care for a loved one after death occurs. This simple ritual is extremely impactful, helping family members find peace and closure through the act of spending those final moments with their loved one. The compassionate care of a doula extends to those who loved the person as well as the one who has died.  

At Chapel of the Chimes Hayward, we want your life’s end to be peaceful and serene. We also want you to have peace of mind knowing your family will be cared for and will not be under any undue stress when it comes time for them to mourn your passing.  

Preplanning is one step you can take that will make it easy for your loved ones to follow your wishes, and it can also alleviate stress by sparing them the responsibility of making decisions during a time of grief and loss. Call 510.400.4442 for more information, or visit our Plan Ahead page to begin preplanning online or request your preplanning guide. 

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