In this season of thanks, I am thankful to my wonderful parents, Chuck and Polly Sarasohn. They both had challenging end-of-life struggles — Dad in 2007, and Mom in 1979. I highlighted Dad’s unfortunate experience with an overlooked DNR order while in a congestive heart failure inpatient unit in an iHealthBeat column, Digital Diretives Could Aid End-of-Life Care, in June 2007.

This post comes to you as part of a “blog rally,” as described in today’s Boston Globe. Several dozen bloggers in and beyond health are simultaneously posting this message to encourage dialogue around the dinner table about a topic that’s often avoided but needs to be addressed in every family: How we want to die.
The movement Engage with Grace is informing and benefiting end-of-life care. This post is written by Alexandra Drane, the founder of, and the Engage With Grace team.

We make choices throughout our lives – where we want to live, what types of activities will fill our days, with whom we spend our time. These choices are often a balance between our desires and our means, but at the end of the day, they are decisions made with intent. But when it comes to how we want to be treated at the end our lives, often we don’t express our intent or tell our loved ones about it.

This has real consequences. 73% of Americans would prefer to die at home, but up to 50% die in hospital. More than 80% of Californians say their loved ones or have a good idea of what their wishes would be if they were in a persistent coma, but only 50% say they’ve talked to them about their preferences.

But our end of life experiences are about a lot more than statistics. They’re about all of us. So the first thing we need to do is start talking.

Engage With Grace: The One Slide Project was designed with one simple goal: to help get the conversation about end of life experience started. The idea is simple: create a tool to help get people talking. One Slide, with just five questions on it. Five questions designed to help get us talking with each other, with our loved ones, about our preferences. And we are asking people to share this One Slide; wherever and whenever they can;at a presentation, at dinner, at their book club. Just One Slide, just five questions.

Let’s start a global discussion that, until now, most of us haven’t had.

Here is what we are asking you: Download The One Slide and share it at any opportunity with colleagues, family, friends. Think of the slide as currency and donate just two minutes whenever you can. Commit to being able to answer these five questions about end of life experience for yourself, and for your loved ones. Then commit to helping others do the same. Get this conversation started.

Let’s start a viral movement driven by the change we as individuals can effect…and the incredibly positive impact we could have collectively. Help ensure that all of us – and the people we care for – can end our lives in the same purposeful way we live them.

Just One Slide, just one goal. Think of the enormous difference we can make together.