Many people spend their entire life dancing around the idea of death and trying to avoid facing it head on. Whether it is due to fear of the unknown or the general tendency to disregard things that you find to be disturbing, people do not generally want to talk about the end of life. Thanatology, or the study of death, takes a closer look at the inner workings of this inevitable part of living. You may be surprised to learn that hospice care services and even emergency personnel are often required to takes classes in the psychological aspects of death and dying because it is such a big part of their job.
You may not know a great deal about studying death, but you may find it interesting to take a look at how society has dealt with death over the last century. Here are three things that have dramatically changed in the last 100 years.
- Death Left the Home -- In the early part of the 19th century, it was common practice for people to die at home. This was partially due to the fact that geographic mobility was difficult and time consuming, but also for the fact that there was often nowhere to go for adequate care anyway. If you were to get ill with a disease, your family would do what they could to make you comfortable, and you would die in your own bed. You would most likely also be buried on your property.
- Death Causation Factors Have Changed -- The most common cause of death in the 1900's was infectious disease, which not only affected the old, but the very young as well. Life expectancies were lower and children were at great risk of dying from simple infections. The development of antibiotics helped lower the infant mortality rate.
- The Media Portrays Death Differently -- If you turn on the television at any time of the day, there is a good chance you will be exposed to some aspect of death. Whether it is the news reporting violent crime in crude detail or your favorite crime drama, dead bodies and graphic imagery are quite the norm. The media has always portrayed death to get people's attention. Many newspaper articles of the past prove this fact. What has changed, however, is thanks to technology, the average person is inundated with death on a daily basis. Therefore, even though people are not talking about it, they often get a dramatized picture in their head of what death is "supposed" to be like.
In gaining understanding of death and dying, you will be more equipped to live a more fulfilling life. Hospice care workers spend a great deal of time studying thanatology to be better equipped to offer their advice to not just their patients, but their family members as well.Share