November Note From the President and CEO: Unity Is Strength, and Collaboration Works Wonders

Collaboration is the foundation of everything we have accomplished, and it will continue to be the cornerstone of our progress moving forward.

I am delighted to report that we emerged from the national and state elections a stronger, better-positioned end-of-life movement, including:  

  • The election of more governors who have affirmatively declared their support for medical aid in dying.

  • More medical aid-in-dying bill sponsors ascending to leadership positions. 

  • The vast majority of legislative supporters of medical aid in dying being re-elected. 

Compassion & Choices Action Network (CCAN) will host a detailed, post-election debrief online Wednesday, December 7; however, in short, the 2022 election results served to reinforce what we have seen in poll after poll: The majority of people from all political parties, races and religions desire autonomy and dignity at life's end. If we remain focused on the universality of death, we will create a broad coalition of support that eventually results in greater person-directed end-of-life care for everybody. 

Collaboration is the foundation of everything we have accomplished, and it will continue to be the cornerstone of our progress moving forward. Just this month, coincidentally National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Compassion & Choices signed a Memorandum of Agreement to form a multi-year collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association! Our shared goal is to engage diverse communities to raise awareness around Alzheimer’s and all other dementias, and to provide care, support and information about advance care planning for everyone impacted by dementia.

Our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association is just one outcome of Compassion & Choices’ growing work to empower everybody to chart their own end-of-life journey. Ultimately, our goal is to empower everyone to finish strong. Many resources to support people as they navigate end-of-life options already exist and are available — free of charge — on the Compassion & Choices website. This includes materials in English and Spanish. In the coming year, we will be translating our materials into even more languages. 

If you are interested in growing your understanding of the end-of-life movement and capacity to advocate for your own — or a loved one’s — end-of-life care, I encourage you to carve out some time to read the second edition of President Emerita Barbara Coombs Lee’s groundbreaking book of the same name, Finish Strong: Putting Your Priorities First at Life’s End, which was just published. As Barbara said in her final chapter: 

We deserve a home stretch that’s in keeping with the lives we’ve led. We can ensure that the final phase of our lives reflects and upholds the values we cherish and the beliefs we hold. So, I’ll conclude with the same invitation extended in this book’s first few pages — an invitation to join the movement for autonomy over how we live as we age. Let us remain conscious and aware on our ultimate and vital journey. Let us finish as strong as we’ve lived.

I hope that you will join us on this journey as the more people we inspire, the faster we will reach our shared goal of finishing strong.