DEATH AND DYING
Historically. death was a common occurrence at all stages of the life course. Until the twentieth century. the chances that a newborn child would live to adulthood were very small. Poor nutrition. infectious diseases. accidents. and natural disasters took their toll on men and women of all ages. But in contemporary. industrial societies. death is looked on as unnatural because it has been largely removed from everyday Iife.Most deaths now occur among older persons and in institutional settings. The association of death with the aging process has contributed toageism in our society; if people can deny aging. they feel that they can deny death (Atchley and Barusch, 2004. In the past. explanations for death and dying were rooted in custom or religious beliefs. Today. people who have religious beliefs regarding living an afterlife typically have less anxiety about death. which they may view as the beginning of a better life (Feifel and Nagy, 1981). Research has shown that those who are most fearful of death ‘are people who are confused or uncertain about their religious beliefs. not those who have confirmed their lack of religious belief (Downy. 1984; Hooyman and Kiyak. 2002). How do people cope with dying? There are three widely known frameworks for explaining how people .cope with the process of dying: the stage-based approach. the dying’ trojectory. and the task-based approach. The stage-based approach was popularized by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (1969). who proposed live stages in the dying process: (1) denial and isolation (“Not me!”). (2) anger and resentment (“Why me?”).(3) bargaining and an attempt to postpone (“Yes me. but .. :’-negotiating for divine intervention). (4) depression and sense of loss. and (5) acceptance. She pointed out that these stages are not the same for all people; some of the stages may exist at the same time. ubler- Ross (1969: 138) also stated that “the one thing that u ually persists through all these stages is hope:’ Kubler- Ross’s stages were attractive to the general public and the media because they provided common responses to a difficult situation. On the other hand. her stage-based model also generated a great deal of criticism. Some have pointed out that these stages have never been conclusively demonstrated or Second is the dying trajectory; which focuses on the perceived course of dying an the expected time of death. For example, a dying trajectory may be sudden. as in the case of a heart attack. or it may be slow. as in the case of lung cancer. According to the dying-trajectory approach. the process of dying involves three phases: the acute phase. characterized by the expression of maximum anxiety or fear; the chronic phase. characterized by a decline in anxiety as the person confronts reality; and the terminal phase. characterized by the dying person’s withdrawal from others (Glaser and Strauss. 1968). Finally. the task-based approach is based on the assumption that the dying person can and should go about daily activities and fulfill tasks that make the process of dying easier on family members and friends. as wasl as on the dying person. Physical tasks can per.