Last days of living should be full of life.
Personal values matter when it comes to planning for one's last days.
Living Values
Decisions

Every day, we all make decisions. Small ones. Big ones.

  • Take time off from work to be in a best friend's wedding?
  • Which bills to pay this month and which to delay?
  • How to get the kids to school this week?
Some decisions can be made easily while others are tougher and require a lot of thought. Either way, making decisions is a big part of daily life.
Planning Ahead

Future events are hard to predict, including the last days of life.

  • Living with diabetes.
  • A motorcycle accident causes life-threatening injuries.
  • Travel with a good friend during retirement.
Everybody dies, and thinking about what could happen can be scary. Some things can be planned but sometimes life takes surprising turns.
Personal Touches

Decisions for a person's last days are complicated and personal. They can include medical, financial, spiritual, and relationship matters.

  • Level of medical treatment to receive.
  • Who should care for surviving children.
  • Memorial ceremony preferences.
These decisions clarify what should happen during a person's last days and the ones after their body dies.
Unique Needs, Dignity for All

Everybody deserves to have their personal choices for the end of their lives honored.

  • No matter how much money they have or make.
  • Regardless of how people identify themselves and whom they choose to love.
  • Any race, ethnicity, or cultural heritage.
We all have different stories, different preferences, and different ways of seeing the world. This uniqueness matters during life and also after it.
Take Time to Choose

Starting early by setting goals, values, and priorities for living can help make decisions for one's last days easier to make.

  • Please make sure our children get our money and things.
  • If I can't talk, I want my partner to know I love him forever.
  • I'd like to be at home and comfortable if my body can not be healed.
Thinking about and recording how you want to live is important. If these are not shared, then no one will know.
A Great Need

Most Americans haven’t made these decisions for living. They often don’t know where to start and the process can be confusing.

Through the Living Values research project, we hope to learn what keeps people from starting and how to create meaningful solutions that can help.

The Study In Three Steps

Over the course of three phases of research, we hope to find ways people feel most comfortable recording their decisions for their last days.

  • Discover Barriers & Opportunities

    Talk with people from different walks of life to discover how they feel about recording their wishes, what may prevent them from doing so, and what kinds of decisions matter to them.
  • Create Solutions with Communities

    Host design workshops where community members will use design thinking methods to create solutions they feel will be relevant and meaningful.
  • woman_working_computer

    Test Solutions

    Invite community members to use the prototypes created in workshops then record and share if and how they increased the likelihood of recording and updating their decisions.

Why Design?

Designing is more than making things look good and function well. Here's why we're applying design thinking and doing to explore this topic.

  • A Systemic Approach

    End-of-life matters are complex systems where medical care, community gatherings, religious groups, and personal support networks all intertwine. Systemic design considers tangible and intangible aspects when addressing problems.
  • hands-people-woman-working

    Producing and Testing Solutions

    Designing involves thinking and doing. This approach allows us to produce real prototypes to test and learn from so a future where all peoples' wishes are documented and honored may be more likely.
  • Experience-Focused Design Outcomes

    A smartphone app or a fancy brochure alone are probably not going to impact this issue. Experience-focused design includes the design of services, interior and exterior spaces, and other immersive outcomes that engage the senses.

The Research Team

As an interdisciplinary research team, we're applying a range of perspectives to this issue.

  • Catherine Sherron

    Catherine Sherron

    Philosophy
    Thomas More College
    0 Posts
  • Dennis Cheatham

    Design
    Miami University
    Design Researcher and Educator at Miami University (OH). I am exploring how design thinking, processes, and outcomes affect and are influenced by human perception, behavior, and actions in societally systemic problems.
    5 Posts
  • Jennifer Heston

    Jennifer Heston

    Gerontology
    Miami University
    0 Posts
  • Paul Nini

    Paul Nini

    Visual Communication Design
    The Ohio State University
    Design educator and design researcher. Professor of Visual Communication Design, The Ohio State University
    0 Posts
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