Whether you’re on a long ride to visit some friends or getting ready to start your morning working from home, podcasts are a great way to simultaneously pass the time and hear moving stories from others. We’ve compiled an updated list of podcasts that speak to the idea of being human: confronting our mortality, the loss of loved ones and making the most out of our limited time here. These episodes approach the topic of end-of-life humorously, intellectually, sorrowfully and—simply—candidly. Check out this compilation of podcasts, including descriptions of each episode adapted from their websites along with the recommendations of other podcasts in the comment section below. We invite you to leave your own comment below: what other related podcasts do you recommend?
- Death: Normalize This by Danielle Young & Adam Rippon
Is there more after we die or is that it? Are you afraid of the unknown or embracing it? This week Danielle and Adam normalize having a conversation about death. “It’s one of those things we all have to face, because we are all going to die.
- Best Life Best Death by Diane Hullet
Conversations about mortality, life, death and what matters most
- End Well Podcast: A Podcast about Living Well by End Well
Most of us hope to live well through to the end of our lives but how do we do that? Each week, you’ll hear thought-provoking talks from relationship experts, death doulas, nurses, comedians, and more who give us permission to break free from old thinking that says you’re either sick or well, loving or leaving, strong or vulnerable. Learn why having a healthy relationship with dying is the first step towards having a more joyous relationship with living.
- How to create your advance care plan series with The Conversation Project, five special episodes –with host The Heart of Hospice
Need some help with those difficult Advance Care Plan discussions? Welcome to our special Advance Care Plan Series featuring Kate DeBartolo and the team from The Conversation Project! Conversations about end of life wishes can happen in different places – in family groups, community groups, or inside communities of faith. No matter where you want to have those ACP discussions, The Conversation Project has a resource you can use. During the wrap-up episode of the Series, Jerry and Helen will be sharing some of the lessons they’ve learned while creating their own personal advance care plans.
- Tradeoffs: The Hurdles Facing Black Families Navigating Serious Illness by the Better Care Playbook
A researcher details ways to make this care more equitable and a caregiver shares her family’s journey navigating a serious illness.
Cianna Stewart, host of the Dying Kindness podcast interviews TCP’s very own Kate deBartolo and Lisa Pahl and Lori LoCicero from The Death Deck. They share tools and personal stories that can help you get the conversation started, regardless of how comfortable (or uncomfortable) you and your loved ones are with the topic.
- Talking Aging Episode 6: The Conversation Project – Featuring Kate DeBartolo of The Conversation Project
Kate DeBartolo joins host of “Talking Aging,” Meeka Marsolais, to talk about end of life wishes and starting the conversation about what matters most to the people who matter most in your life using the Conversation Starter Guide and other resources on our TCP website! Through these resources, we also hope to help you talk through your own wishes for care through the end of life, so those wishes can be understood and respected.
- Psychology of Aging with Dr. Regina Koepp: How to Talk About End of Life Wishes – with Patty Webster, The Conversation Project
“Have you had an end of life conversation with a loved one? What feelings came up for when you read this? Fear? Sadness? Longing? Remorse?”
Dr. Regina Koepp, host of Psychology of Aging, sits down with our own community engagement leader, Patty Webster, to talk about TCP as a public engagement initiative and about the free tools to help families and healthcare institutions start and be prepared for end of life conversations. You can access this on Apple Podcasts through the website linked in the title of this podcast episode here, and also on Spotify.
Alex Smith sits down with Rebecca Sudore and Ryan McMahan, who published a paper in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, or JAGS, that argues that the field of advance care planning has come a long way. Smith’s “take away is that if we’re looking for advance care planning to result in “goal concordant care” – we’re asking too much of it. That doesn’t mean it’s not useful. It’s primary use is helping surrogates feel like they are prepared and satisfied with the difficult choices they have to make for seriously ill patients.”
Host from “Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast” from JewishSacredAging.com, Rabbi Address and the Rev. Rosemary Lloyd discuss “The Conversation Project” about planning through the end of life and learning how to respect the wishes for care through the end of life for the people who matter most in your life.
Talking about death makes many of us uncomfortable, so we don’t plan for it. But the reality is even a small amount of planning ensures our final wishes are honored — and makes it easier on our friends and family. These tips aren’t meant to be legal or medical advice, but rather simple, practical steps get started planning for the end of life.
- Bringing Life to Hospice with Hospice of Illinois: Let’s “Start The Conversation(s)” with Patty Webster
What is this episode about you ask? Patty Webster, community engagement leader at the Conversation Project, talks about the TCP initiative, National Healthcare Decisions Day (which is April 16th), and planning for your wishes through the end of life. You can listen directly using the link in the title, via the podcast app, or on Spotify.
“How do you want to live? The goal of The Conversation Project is to get people talking about this. And they are using the non-medical community to get these conversations started. The focus is on values, not medical terminology.”
Kate DeBartolo shares her experience having end of life conversations and guiding others through these as well with Sheryl Smith RN of the “engAGING Conversations Podcast”. They touch on important questions such as: Who should have these conversations? When they should have them? What is it about dying at home that is important to people? What role does a loved one play as a proxy or healthcare advocate? Which you can also find guidance on in our free website guides.
“Every episode of Health & Heart features words and wisdom from a faith community leader, especially crafted to help you find peace and inspiration in your serious illness healthcare journey, including people with serious illness and those who care for them. No matter your spiritual belief or identity, these podcasts are meant to offer you different paths toward kindness, peace of mind, and diverse understanding.”
The Coalition to Transform Advanced Cares has a 6 episode podcast that provides spiritual support and encouragement for those facing serious illness, caregivers, and cliniciansListen on Apple Podcast, Spotify or use the link in the title to access all 6 episodes!
In Dream Nation Love, “Alica speaks about grief and gives advice on end-of-life experiences. Through Alica I found out that ashes contain sharp shards. Something I didn’t know before. We also talk about the way we handle grief in the workplace.”
“What does a good day look like?” That question — when asked of both terminally-ill and healthy people — has transformed Atul Gawande’s practice of medicine. A citizen physician and writer, Gawande is on the frontiers of human agency and meaning in light of what modern medicine makes possible. For the millions of people who have read his book Being Mortal, he’s also opened new conversations about the ancient human question of death and what it might have to do with life.
None of us is prepared to be caregivers — the role is thrust upon us. More than 40 million Americans are caring for an elderly parent or loved one. This episode offers six tips to make the caregiving burden more sustainable.
Finding out you have a serious medical condition can leave you reeling. These strategies from medical and lay experts will help you be in control as you navigate our complex health care system and get the best possible care. This episode helps you figure out what matters most to you, and to fight for it.
The Conversation Project’s Advisor to Faith Based Communities talks about the importance of having a conversation with your loved ones on their wishes for end of life care.
- Healthcare Communication—Effective Techniques for Clinicians: How to Prepare for End of Life Conversations
The Conversation Project’s own Kelly McCutcheon Adams, MSW, LCSW, talks about IHI’s Conversation Ready project and end of life conversations. Learn about the advantages and process of incorporating this work into healthcare systems using the Conversation Ready principles: Exemplify, Connect, Engage and Steward all of which are the foundation for Respect. The IHI white paper and tool kit are available at ihi.org.
Comedian Chris Garcia has always incorporated stories about his Cuban-American family into his sets. But after his father died from Alzheimer’s, Chris started using his comedy to process his own grief, and to memorialize his dad. He also found solace talking to other comedians who lost their own parents. You’ll hear Chris talk with his mother Ana, and with Karen Kilgariff, a fellow comedian and cohost of the podcast My Favorite Murder.
Many of us believe we know how we’d choose to die. We have a sense of how we’d respond to a diagnosis of an incurable illness. Hear the story of one family’s decades-long conversation about dying. They found that the people we are when death is far in the distance may not be the people we become when death is near.
Ellen Goodman is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, an award-winning journalist, an author of 7 books, and the co-founder of The Conversation Project. She recently shared with The Heart of Hospice hosts her most personal story of being her mother’s caregiver, and how it inspired her to create The Conversation Project.
Ellen shared her story of being her mother’s caregiver and decision maker, and being uncertain of her mother’s wishes because they had never had THE conversation. “We talked about everything except one thing: how she wanted to live at the end of her life.” The goal of The Conversation Project is to help people facilitate conversations about their wishes for care through the end of life.
Want to keep connected to The Conversation Project? Sign-up for our newsletter(s), follow us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube) download our conversation starter resources and feel free to reach us at ConversationProject@ihi.org.