Up until this week I assumed that a doula was associated with the beginning of life, not the end. Then I saw a Facebook post sharing an article for the LA Times. Death Doula: A midwife for the end of life. As I read the article it did seem natural to have an advocate assist as one's life draws to an end. I see the family strife all the time. A neutral party can be very helpful. From navigating the health care system, to coordinating family visits, to making final arrangements.
However, I would urge people NOT to plan to wait on completing essential estate planning documents until they have a death doula at their side. Why? Unlike birth, not all deaths are easily forecast. If you are in your 80s or 90s or have a terminal illness, a death doula could assist in making sure you complete necessary paperwork and help with the end of life process. Sadly, there is not always time to contact a death doula. Heart attacks, stroke, car accidents, and countless other ways can end a life, any life, no matter the age, instantly.
Photo Credit: www.sxc.hu - free image