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A Courageous Conversation about VSED with Jim Rough

Jim Rough is a Social Innovator, Facilitator, Speaker, Author, Co-founder and Director of The

I am grateful for Jim’s courage and vulnerability to share openly in our poignant conversation, not about his professional work, but about his experiences as an amazing husband and caregiver who now finds himself on his grief journey. It is such a gift to others that he is willing to share his heartfelt reflections with us.

Jim met his wife Jean and they married in 1971. They had their son 2 years later. They found a common passion as advocates for social reform and lived and worked together until Jean fell ill with Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body Diseases.

Jim and Jean had been married for 46 years before her she opted for VSED, a voluntary suspension of eating and drinking, to hasten her death. Jean passed at home at age 73, on June 22, 2019.

One in ten people (10 percent) age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease. About one-third of people age 85 and older (32 percent) have Alzheimer’s disease. Of the 5.8 million people who have Alzheimer’s disease, the vast majority (81 percent) are age 75 or older.

Alzheimer’s is a growing cultural challenge at least equally as overwhelming as the pandemic we face with COVID-19. In this powerful and revealing conversation, Jim shares about the signs of Alzheimer’s, the importance of having direct conversations with your partner, doctor(s), family and friends. He also shares about Jean’s bold decision to hasten her passing using VSED, the voluntary suspension of eating and drinking, and his yet fresh and raw grief process.

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