How Can Baby Boomers Handle Aging Parents’ Healthcare Crises?

Oct 18, 2013 | 0 comments

Talk with Katy Butler, author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door, on A Good Goodbye Radio October 23

The Silver Tsunami of baby boomers, many contending with their own health issues, also face caring for their elderly parents with serious health conditions. End-of-life scenarios too often end up in the hospital pursuing futile medical treatment, when as much as 75% of the population says they’d like to die at home.

An adult aged 50-plus to 60-plus with parents aged 80-plus and older has to deal with elderly failing bodies and minds. Strokes, dementia, a reduced ability to handle activities of daily living – very often the heavy burden of care-giving responsibilities falls upon the healthier spouse or adult children.

Katy Butler

Katy Butler, author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

Why don’t we die the way we say we want to die? What cost incentives drive medical treatment of the elderly? How do we help our parents have a “good goodbye”?

Katy Butler, author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death, joins host Gail Rubin on A Good Goodbye Radio on Wednesday, October 23 at 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m. PT to discuss these pressing issues.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • How a hastily-installed pacemaker forced her father’s heart to outlive his brain
  • Who ends up being primary caregivers for the growing number of failing elderly
  • Why it’s a good idea to discuss end-of-life preferences before a medical crisis hits
  • How Medicare is set up to reward treatment over discussion of options
  • What the Slow Medicine movement offers in contrast to Fast Medicine

Download the podcast!

One example of how Fast Medicine focuses on saving elderly lives is Lady and Reaper Doctor Nurses Carteloquently (and comically) illustrated in the animated short, The Lady and The Reaper. (click here to view)

Katy Butler is a former finalist for a National Magazine Award and a winner of the Science in Society Prize from the National Association of Science Writers. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, the New York Times, Best American Essays, and Best American Science Writing. Born in South Africa’s Great Karoo desert and raised in England, she graduated from Wesleyan University and quickly fled West to San Francisco, where she studied Zen Buddhism, interned at an alternative weekly, and landed at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she covered riots, cult scandals, the right-to-die movement, and other news from the margins.

A Good Goodbye is an entertaining and educational weekly 60-minute online radio show on “everything you need to know before you go.”  The program airs live on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. CT / 4:00 p.m. MT / 3:00 p.m. PT online.

Each show becomes available as a podcast shortly after each live program. All past program podcasts on A Good Goodbye radio can be downloaded for free from iTunes and

Upcoming guests on the program include Stephanie West Allen, founder of Create a Great Funeral Day (Oct. 30), and Mary Woodsen, who put together much-quoted figures on traditional funeral resource use, on green burial issues (Nov. 20).

A Good Goodbye covers a wide range of critical information most people don’t consider until there’s a death in the family. Host Gail Rubin brings a light touch to a serious subject and presents expert interviews on funeral planning issues with practical insights into the party no one wants to plan.

By planning ahead and having a conversation, families can reduce stress at a time of grief, minimize family conflict, save money and create a meaningful, memorable “good goodbye.”

Sign up for a free planning form and get more information at

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Gail Rubin, funeral planning expert and Celebrant

Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death®

Gail Rubin, The Doyenne of Death®, is author of the award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. Host of A Good Goodbye television series and Internet radio show, she is also a Certified Celebrant, funeral planning consultant, insurance agent and a popular speaker who uses humor and films to get the funeral planning conversation started. Rubin is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association. She is Vice President of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue of New Mexico, helping to start conversations across religions. Her website is

Contact: Gail Rubin | PH: 505-265-7215

A Good Goodbye