Caring for people at the end of life is a calling. I did not envision myself doing this work when I started my first job after graduate school at age 25. I was a newly-minted psychologist specializing in Gerontology (the study of aging), working at a housing service for seniors. While my work life took many twists and turns, including 15 years as a financial executive in commercial banking, I am now happily back where I started years ago – working with older people as they navigate the challenges of aging, dying, and death.
My experience with end of life caregiving began in 2017 when I simultaneously cared for my mother and father (living in different cities), who both died that spring. Three years later, I became the primary caregiver to a dying friend in Bradenton, Florida. During the months leading to her death, I coordinated and managed her care, carrying out her wishes for her final chapter. The months we spent together were sacred, the dying process and her death were peaceful, and I was inspired to help others experience their end of life in this special way.
I became a hospice volunteer and enrolled in the Doulagivers Institute, receiving an End of Life Doula certification in June 2022. The work I do now with patients and families is unquestionably the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done. I’m truly fortunate to be part of the new wave of caregivers bringing needed attention and support to the end of life experience.
Membership in Organizations
To promote the work of End of Life Doulas, I am a member of the following organizations:
Doulagivers International Association;
International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA);
National End of Life Doula Alliance (NEDA);
Florida End of Life Doula Association;
Sarasota Area End of Life Doulas (founding member).
I am also trained as a health and lifestyle coach and a grief counselor, and I have taken numerous classes on effective communication.
For those interested in my traditional credentials:
B.A. in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis
M.A. in Adult Development and Aging from Syracuse University
M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia University Graduate School of Business
Ph.D. in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health
Certifications in nutrition, health and lifestyle coaching, banking, and end of life doula care.
When I was in graduate school, I took my first course on death and dying with the famous Swiss-American psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, author of over 20 books on death and dying and a pioneer in raising awareness of terminal illness and death. Before her work, death was an unexplored and neglected topic in medical schools and American culture. Little did I know how famous Dr. Kubler-Ross would be! She later became the driving force behind the “death with dignity” movement in the 1970s and an advocate for hospice care. Her most famous contribution is her recognition of the five stages of grief as a pattern of adjustment to loss of all kinds: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.