The Life-or-Death Answers We Owe Our Loved Ones

How our life ends isn’t always up to us, but that question too often must be answered by loved ones and health care workers who don’t know what we would want.

An older woman walks toward a sunset.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

His name was Bob. He was 82. The way he decided to die should speak volumes about the way the rest of us can choose to live.

For many years, Bob had suffered from a serious chronic heart condition. With Bob’s health woes mounting — and his quality of life suffering — a team of surgeons and nurses prepared in a hospital to do exactly what our medical system is programmed to view as the next step: open-heart surgery.

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Joel Theisen, RN
CEO and Founder, Lifespark

After a 25+ year career that started out as a critical care nurse and moved into health care management and senior services, Joel Theisen became driven to help end the roller coaster of crisis that is a reality for too many seniors. In 2004 he founded Lifespark, a Minnesota-based holistic, senior services organization that uses a whole-person, proactive long-term approach to connect seniors to the right services, at the right time, so they can age magnificently.