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C-TAC Member Spotlight: GoodEnding

In Being Mortal, Dr. Atul Gawande writes about a man who wants to continue living as long as he can eat chocolate ice cream and watch football, his idea of a good ending. Inspired by Being Mortal and his mother’s negative end of-life-experience, Doug Renfield-Miller founded the nonprofit GoodEnding, Inc. in 2015 to ensure that more people could experience a good ending.

Doug remembers his mom as an incredibly insightful and wise person.  She had a PhD in psychology and spent her life helping others. Until she could no longer communicate, every time Doug visited his mom she would ask him, “how’s your psyche?” However, Doug’s mom never spoke about her own needs or how she wanted to die. As is too often the case, she spent her final year in and out of the hospital, rehab, and a skilled nursing facility, steadily declining, and died alone one night. Doug’s dad helped found the first hospice in Massachusetts in 1978, and when asked why his mom hadn’t been moved to hospice he responded, “She had the best medical care, and we just did what the doctors recommended.”

GoodEnding seeks to facilitate better endings for individuals and their loved ones by promoting and facilitating advance care planning. The GoodEnding website includes free online resources providing information and tools for addressing a broad range of end-of-life issues. Doug initially sought to create an app that would make advance directives easy to create and readily accessible from a locked smartphone. However, after considerable research, Doug discovered that C-TAC member, MyDirectives had already created such an app. Since then, the focus of GoodEnding has shifted.

The organization is now a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit and online platform addressing a broad range of aging and end-of-life challenges. The GoodEnding website features four verticals: Advance Directives, All in Good Order, Memorials, and Care for Self and Others. GoodEnding.org is funded by a private foundation and does not carry any advertising, solicit donations, or ask users to register. The website’s home page encourages visitors to create an advance care plan and features a link to the MyDirectives app. Each vertical includes links to articles, resources and organizations vetted for content. Subjects covered range from the practical, such as organizing your affairs and technology for aging in place, to the more whimsical – planning your funeral and writing your obituary. Goodending.org and related links are revised and updated regularly in an effort to include the most relevant, current, and useful information. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” GoodEnding seeks to achieve this every day, individually and collectively.

To learn more about GoodEnding, visit their website here.

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