Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada
Death is a natural part of life, but many Canadians are hesitant to have essential conversations about the end of their lives. Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada is a conversation catalyst from the Vanier Institute of the Family intended to spark dialogue in households, workplaces and communities across the country by exploring death and dying through a family lens.
Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada examines the evolution of death and dying in Canada across generations, the desires and realities of families surrounding death and dying, the role of families in end-of-life care and its impact on well-being. Through current data and trend analysis, interviews with caregivers and families, and reflections on hospice volunteering from author Dr. Katherine Arnup, this study discusses death and dying within the current and emerging social, cultural and policy landscapes.
“While many people are hesitant to talk about death and dying with their families and health care providers, some of the silence surrounding death and dying in Canada has been broken – a step in the right direction. Talking about death with family, planning for what we hope for and supporting others can help us to see that death is a natural part of life that is not inherently undignified, and to appreciate the present, thereby enriching our lives.”
– Dr. Katherine Arnup, author
“Birth and death are among the few universal family experiences. Many Canadians and their families are hesitant to discuss death despite the importance of these conversations in providing and arranging for the care of loved ones at the end of life. It is our hope that Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada helps to move the conversation forward as we recognize and celebrate National Hospice Palliative Care Week.”
– Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family
About the author
Dr. Katherine Arnup is a writer, speaker and life coach specializing in transitions, and a retired Carleton University professor. Author of the award-winning book Education for Motherhood, a history of advice for mothers, she has pioneered studies on the diversity and complexity of family life. In her latest book, “I Don’t Have Time for This!” A Compassionate Guide to Caring for Your Parents and Yourself, she tackles the last taboo – death itself. Katherine is also the author of the 2013 edition of this report, Contemporary Family Trends: Death, Dying and Canadian Families (now archived but available upon request).
Read more from Dr. Arnup:
- “I Don’t Have Time for This!” A Compassionate Guide to Caring for Your Parents and Yourself (book)
- Education for Motherhood: Advice for Mothers in Twentieth-Century Canada (book)
- Lessons in Death and Dying (journal article)
- My Caregiving Journey (Transition article)
- Caring to the End: The Meanings of Hospice Volunteering (Transition article)
Published on May 7, 2018