The experience of
death in the United States usually includes three components. First is the
encounter with the death (it is how people experience death in their lives).
Secondly is the attitudes toward the death (it is how people think and feel
about death). Finally is the death-related practices (it is what rituals and
behaviors are associated with death). In
this paper, we will discuss the major principle features of the
death-related encounters in the United States
in the 21st century. Also, the
text will describe the six make or factors that are
associated with the changes.
The principal features that define the contemporary
encounters with the death include mortality
rates, the average life expectancy, the causes of death, dying trajectories and
the locations of death.
In the United States,
there are about 7462 deaths per 100000
people where the highest states are Mississippi, and the lowest states are California.
In 1954, the rate dropped to about 9.2 per 1000 which is about 47%. In
2004, the death rate in the United States
had changed to about 8.2 per 1000.
Therefore, this reduction of the mortality
rate has a substantial impact on the
encounters with death. It indicates that people in the United States are
expected to have lower or fewer encounter with the natural death as compared to
the past. Also, the mortality rate can also be examined with response to the particular
variables such as social class, race, and
gender (Charles, et al. 2012). For
example, where the spirit of the trust succeed, there is moderate violence and crime, there is the existence of resources that support healthy living, and also the sick can access care, the
will be an inverse and strong effect on the mortality rate.
gender difference, the death rate currently in the United States is somehow equal which about 8.2 per 1000 is.
On the other hand, in term of the societal differences, the “social inequality
of death” will exist where the people in the lower socioeconomic classes might
have a higher mortality rate as compared
to the individuals in the middle
socioeconomic classes. It is because the people who are in the middle class are
better of economically, regarding
education, healthcare, financial resources,
nutrition, and housing. Finally, the
differences in the changing rates can be on maternal mortality and also infants
(Charles, et al. 2012).
It is a principal that is also related to the death rate, and it is also an important
characteristic of the changing arrangements of the encounters with death. It
recognizes the average remaining length of the life that might be expected for a person of a given age. For
example, a person whose age is 20 in 2004 might live an addition of 58.8 years.
Therefore, life expectancy has increased significantly
in the United States because of the decreased number of the deaths. It is
because, when people survive childhood, infancy,
and birth, the average life expectancy of the entire population will also rise.
Death can be due to both
the communicable diseases and the degenerative diseases. The communicable diseases are usually accompanied by several symptoms such as muscle ache,
fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea and nausea (Charles,
et al. 2012). Therefore, many people still die of the communicable
diseases. For example, HIV/AIDS, septicemia, pneumonia and even influenza. Also, there has also been a concern in the United
States that others may use the biological agents in the terrorist acts. Hence,
it is the disease that can be spread from
one person to another person. Also, it
causes the greatest death in the period 1900s. The degenerative disease is the
disease that deteriorates the functions or structures of the human tissue, and it also causes the most significant death in today’s world that in
the past. Also, the degenerative disease has their features. For example, the vascular
diseases such as strokes that cause
unanticipated and quick deaths. Hence deaths that are associated with this kind of illness
are often very slow and may also be quite painful.
These are the different patterns of killing that associate with the various causes of death which are marked by the
shape and durations. Duration in dying trajectory is described as the time that is
involved in the arrival of the
death and the onset of the dying. It is also
called the living-dying intervals as described by Pattison (1977) who
focuses on three phases. That is the acute crisis phase, the chronic-living
dying stage, and the terminal phase. On
the other hand, the shape in dying trajectory describes the entire course of
the process of dying. It is where an individual might predict how the process
might advance and also whether the death is unexpected or expected. An example of dying trajectories includes the swift or the almost immediate onset of the death while other people
will last for an extended period. Other dying trajectories can be unclear
or ambiguous, and other can give no
warning in advance (Charles, et al. 2012).
The death of a person
can occur at any site. Therefore death is
similar in most situations. Most individuals have been touched, heard or seen
the death of their family member once in
a while. Therefore death can occur in the health care institution such as a
hospital. For example, in 2004 about 68%
of the deaths in the United States happen
in an organization. 46% of the deaths
occurred in the medical or hospital center while above 22% of the deaths took place in the long-term care facilities. Also, most of the death usually happen in the presence of the caregiver away
from the family members (Charles, et al. 2012).
when there is the absence of the long-term relationship with the people who are
dying, the caregivers may fail to understand the dying people’s preferences, needs,
values and also personal interest. It also indicates why most people fear dying
rather than death. Hence the personal and direct encounter with the many facets
of the natural human deaths have been decreasing in our societies. Death and
the care of dying have been pushed away from the family members and also out of
our homes in most communities. Hence very
few people may experience that moment immediately before death, directly after
the death or at the time of the passing
of the person they love. Furthermore, for other people, death is estranged from
the conventional of the events of life.
Related to the Changing Encounters with Death.
Mortality rates or
the factors that cause an increase in the
death rate in the society has begun to
decrease over the years. It is because of
six vital factors that contribute to the reduction
rate of mortality in the community. These factors include lifestyle,
nature of the contemporary families, modern cure-oriented medicine, preventive
care, public health measures and industrialization.
Industrialization has brought about an improvement in the environment and also the standard of
living of people which in turn reduced the death rate in most societies. It was
because of increased production of goods that lead to the creation of employment which in turn resulted in better food, clothing, and housing. It has also improved means of communication such as
telephones and effective means of the transportation such as rail systems. For example, food can be transported to weak areas
which will reduce poverty, starvation and malnutrition level hence decreasing
death rate in the country (Charles, et al. 2012).
It is also one of the factors that reduced the
death rate in the country. For example, the threats
that were posed by the communicable diseases was decreased by a better understanding of how they were transmitted.
Also, it assisted people to separate
drinking water from the sewage and also improved sanitation in the society.
Therefore, the actions contributed to the decrease death rates and also helped in the prevention of the mortality and
morbidity in the entire community.
Health Care for People
For example vaccination. It is where a person can be
infected or inoculated in a controlled way
with a particular illness. Therefore the purpose of the treatment is to permit
the persons weak immune system to be able
to build up a defense to any future attacks by any illness. Another tool for
the preventive health care is the use of the media. Media will assist in
circulating advice on the exercises and
healthy diets (Charles, et al. 2012). It
will also help in warning the people against health-related dangers of the
tobacco use. Finally, the media will assist in persuading the pregnant women to
sleep under treated mosquito nets and not to use any illegal drugs and drink
Rise of the Modern Cure-Oriented Medicine
Medicines have become
vital in reducing the death rates and also in accelerating the changes that
already existed. Therefore, the modern medicine has contributed significantly to the improvement in average
life expectancy and mortality rates of
the contemporary individuals in the industrial nations. Furthermore, it has
also affected the infant mortality rate
and the death rate.
Nature of the Contemporary Families
When a given family is large/big, the members could be seen in taking part in the caring for the
ill, the dead bodies, the bereaved and the dying. When the family is relatively
small, most of the adults work outside their homes,
and they are more scattered (Kübler-Ross, 2009).
Therefore their encounter with the bereavements, death and the dying occur in a
different manner. Hence many in the impersonal, secular, mobile society that tier that exists
with the dying, death and bereavements are usually less reliable, less typical and also less
The way people
live their own usually have a direct influence on how and when the people die.
For example, in 1990, it was discovered
that almost half of the deaths in the United
States arises from or was associated
with the fundamental causes that were preventable and in principle. Therefore,
the physical activities/ diet patterns are one of the greater contributors to
the mortality than even tobacco, and they
are increasing in their impacts. Hence when the society encourages healthy living through diet and physical activities,
they will be able to reduce the death
rate in that community as a whole (Quadagno, 2013).
Charles A. Corr, Clyde M. Nabe, Donna M. Corr. (2012). Death
& dying, life & living. ,
6th Edition Nelson Education. http://www.cengagebrain.com/cgi-wadsworth/course_products_wp.pl?fid=M20b&product_isbn_issn=9780495506461&token
Kübler-Ross, E. (2009). On
death and dying: What the dying have to teach doctors, nurses, clergy and their
families. Taylor & Francis.
Quadagno, J. (2013). Aging
and the life course: An introduction to social gerontology. McGraw-Hill