I am not a geriatrician. I design reading programs for preschoolers. In the last few years, I helped two friends have the end of life they wanted. I learned a few things about how to have a good end of life. At the end, our bodily functions and independence decline. I found that with the right people and a plan, our quality of life can remain high during this time.

I wanted to share what I learned from my friends’ successful approach to the end of life. I have outlined five practices, with worksheets for each to help you to prepare for your end of life. This is a topic that normally inspires denial and fear. But if we put time into planning our end of life, we have the best chance of maintaining our quality of life.

Many people have expressed their thanks for this TED Talk. I am only able to share this information because I had the good fortune of knowing Jim and Shirley Modini. If you have found the talk or these worksheets helpful, please consider making a small donation to support the the Modini Ranch Endowment Fund at Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR).

Judy MacDonald Johnston

P.S. My experience was limited to quite healthy people, living into their 90’s, with cancer and neurological illness as the ultimate causes of death. Jim and Shirley lived very frugally, and this resulted in a nest egg that could cover caregiving expenses. I realize their experience does not represent a full spectrum. Please contact me if you have ideas on how to update these practices so they will be helpful for those dying in other circumstances. If you would like to learn more about Jim and Shirley's life and ranch, the local paper profiled them in 2009.