Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters Most in the End
Atul GawandeWhile I admit that I was drawn to this book because of the work I do, this is a book for everyone to read. In easily readable and understandable language, Gawande helps us to see that we will all die and the way we deal with aging in our country needs to be changed. He shares stories of people who felt like they had lost all control as they aged and the frustrations family members faced as they tried to be caregivers and keep their loved ones safe. In these pages you’ll see the author change his own understanding of how those in the medical field help us throughout our life. I hope this book will give you the courage to have difficult conversations with your loved ones. What are your hopes and fears for the end of your life? What does your best day look like and how can we help give you one more best day?

In my work, I see first hand the challenges of caring for family members who are ill. Many people prefer to remain at home and do not understand the challenges of caregiving. Others live in facilities with all the challenges associated with not being in one’s own home. I loved reading about the reformers who offer alternatives to these two options including the first assisted living home and Chase Memorial Nursing Home with two dogs, four cats, and 100 birds. Although Gawande shares different options being tried across the country, he does not sugar coat the difficulties that these places face as they try to care for people as they age.

I loved this book because I love what I get to do for living. I dream of a day where people aren’t afraid of the word hospice because everyone has already had conversations about end of life wishes and goals with their family members. While I know this type of conversation is not easy for most people, I encourage you to read this book and talk with your loved ones about what you want, what is important for you in your life and also in your death. I hope that reading this book and meeting the people on these pages will give us all the courage to speak honestly about our limits, our hopes, and our deaths.


  1. SusannahDB

    Thanks, Pat. I’m glad you have read this book and I hope more people will read it!
    Peace to you,

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