How We Die Now

Intimacy and the Work of Dying

Karla Erickson
Book Cover

PB: $27.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0824-2
Publication: Oct 13

HC: $91.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-0823-5
Publication: Oct 13

Ebook: $27.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0825-9

208 pages
5.5 x 8.25

Insights from elders and their caregivers on the end of life

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).


As we live longer and die slower and differently than our ancestors, we have come to rely more and more on end-of-life caregivers. These workers navigate a changing landscape of old age and death that many of us have little preparation to encounter. How We Die Now is an absorbing and sensitive investigation of end-of-life issues from the perspectives of patients, relatives, medical professionals, and support staff. Karla Erickson immersed herself in the daily life of workers and elders in a Midwestern community for over two years to explore important questions around the theme of “how we die now.” She moves readers through and beyond the many fears that attend the social condition of old age and reveals the pleasures of living longer and the costs of slower, sometimes senseless ways of dying. For all of us who are grappling with the “elder boom,” How We Die Now offers new ways of thinking about our longer lives.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1 How We Die Now: Americans Aging and Dying in the Twenty-First Century 2 The Paradox of Long-Term Care: We Need It; We Fear It 3 Transitioning Together: Living, Working, Aging, and Dying at Winthrop House 4 Lessons from the End of Life: What Workers Learn from Helping Others Die 5 Mutual Interdependency: Belonging, Recognition, and the Rewards of Caring for One Another Afterword Glossary References Index

About the Author(s)

Karla A. Erickson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Grinnell College. She is the author of The Hungry Cowboy: Service and Community in a Neighborhood Restaurant and co-editor (with Hokulani Aikau and Jennifer Pierce) of Feminist Waves, Feminist Generations, Life Stories from the Academy.