Aging and Wellness Series
Lesson Three: Legacy ACT Step Two
In what ways is there a space for Ethical Wills and the kind of conversations they evoke in your caregiving practice? What prevents Ethical Wills from becoming a part of “treatment” in our current day healthcare system? What changes could be implemented to include this process as part of encouraging patient well-being?
2. “For persons with limited economic, social, and cultural capital, legacy work can promote end-of-life dignity by using personally meaningful criteria such as ethical capital to articulate the value of one’s life . . . scholars, nurses, doctors, family, social workers, palliative care units and clergy can advance the idea of ethical capital and encourage its utilization . . .” – ( Beverley Williams, Lesa Woodby, Patricia Drentea “Ethical capital: ‘What’s a poor man got to leave?’” )
In what ways do you interact with older individuals who have “limited economic, social, and cultural capital”? How can the concept of ethical capital be communicated? How can you and your caregiving environment support all older adults, including those that are disadvantaged, in finding value and dignity in their ethical legacies?
3. “He who dies with the least, wins.” – Potlatch Tradition
Research has shown that individuals are more concerned about leaving a burdensome, negative legacy than leaving a beneficial, positive one (Wade-Benzoni et al., 2010) How might the potlatch tradition prevent a negative, contentious allocation of resources? How can this practice increase a sense of meaningful legacy sharing, compared to a traditional will? How could you introduce the notion of the Potlatch to care receivers and their families? How might it be brought into your own legacy building?
4. “In order to conclude a life story there seems to be a need to create a moral of the story. One of the most important things was to come up with a nugget of wisdom or insight—an expression of the essence of the self, created over a lifetime, that could be passed along to future generations . . . We want to leave something positive behind and exhibit an optimism that allows us to find something positive even in the darkest of situations.” - ( Kimberly A. Wade-Benzoni, Harris Sondak, and Adam D. Galinsky “Leaving a Legacy: Toward a Typology”)
Think of older individuals who have shared “a nugget of wisdom or insight—an expression of the essence of the self, created over a lifetime.” What are some of the specific messages they have shared? How did this sense of passing on wisdom affect their view of aging? How did it change “the darkest of situations”? How can older care providers find opportunities to share this type of wisdom with patients and with peers?
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