By Sophia Ricco
The topic of death can be one that sends goosebumps up someone’s spine, no one wants to face this but it is something that inevitably comes. What if someone could pass on in a peaceful way that leaves them feeling they have lived a fulfilled life?
This is the mission of Susan Capurso, founder of East End Doula Care, who wants to change the view of end of life care and improve a person’s journey into this last chapter of their life. As a certified doula, Capurso is emotionally supportive and can guide a person and their family during this time. She also provides elder care assistance to people who may not be at this part of their life, but still need support and guidance.
“For years and years doulas have helped bring babies into the world and now we’re helping people leave the world more peaceful and with less anxiety,” Capurso said.
When someone feels they are close to death, it can leave both them and their family feeling afraid and overwhelmed. This is when Capurso comes in, she will put forth techniques to change the family dynamic and mindset. She learned this during her training from Doulagivers in New York City which taught her the three phases of care.
“When people get a diagnosis, they’re in a fog, confused and overwhelmed, not knowing what Is going to happen next,” Capurso said. “Family members who were once your main support, now lose their focus as well. Everyone is frightened and sad. We come in, address your story as a whole and work each angle of your life to completion. Paper work, family gatherings, legacy work and more.”
Capurso offers many service packages and feels she offers her clients a renewed outlook and experience. She offers discounts if someone uses her services in the long term, which can be found on her website EastEndDoulaCare.com. Also, Capurso offers telephone guidance for a small fee if someone is in need of quick assistance, she can help them plan for what is to come and offer them referrals.
One of the services she offers is her creativity through legacy projects that she will work on with the person for a few hours a week. Something as simple as writing birthday cards for their children over the next 10 years, to be delivered every year, can let the person know their words will carry on for years after they have passed.
“I tend to think outside of the box, so bringing this in is what I do best,” Capurso said. “When you’re in the family, you should be grieving, you should be spending time and sharing love, I can bring in the rest.”
As an outsider to the family, Capurso does her best to educate the family on what could happen when the person is nearing death so they are prepared. By doing this, she can remind them when the time does come certain signs and symptoms are normal and natural. Working as a volunteer for Hospice for four years, Capurso has experienced this process many times before, which helps her to identify symptoms that a person is experiencing close to the end of their life.
Once in your End of Life Chapter, Capurso will work with them on their advanced directives by utilizing the five wishes program. These directives outline what a person would like to happen if they could not speak for themselves any longer. She also helps write personal eulogies, enabling them to express their feelings in the moment, even when they are not there.
“It’s all the little things that are going to help you make your end chapter, a better story. Every one of us want to leave with grace and dignity feeling more complete and with closure.” Capurso said.
Whatever a person’s diagnosis, Capurso wants to make their transition into this last part of their life, a smooth one that is not filled with fear and anxiety. This is a time for someone to finish many of the things they always wanted to do, a bucket list, being one. She gives the example of someone who has always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon. Although, they may not physically be able to go there, she would get popcorn, snacks, and videos that give a tour through the Grand Canyon and do a theme night for the family to remember forever.
“We need to learn how to do death better, instead of being so scared and letting someone die alone on machine’s in hospitals, let’s do this at home in your loving environment,” Capurso said. “It has to change, our elderly community has increased by tenfold, we are facing trouble in the coming years and I hope to make an impact by bringing a positive spin to everyone’s End of Life.”
Those interested in becoming an End of Life doula, can contact Capurso and visit doulagivers.com.