It’s often said that appreciating differences in others helps us better understand ourselves, and that this is what ultimately unites humanity. The same is true for End of Life. Although our cultures, ethnicities and faiths may differ, we will all experience End of Life.
Culture and ethnicity create diversity. Culture refers to a group’s values, beliefs and customs. Ethnicity refers to one’s self-identified group. That group may include sub-groups of people that share racial, religious, linguistic, political or social backgrounds and other characteristics. Cultural diversity is the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.
Cultural diversity affects everyone. Each of us belongs to different groups of people that influence the way we view our world, including how we view life and End of Life.
Awareness and sensitivity about culturally diverse customs and beliefs helps ensure that our own and our loved ones’ unique End of Life experience is respected.
Your culture will likely influence how you think and feel about your final living arrangements and healthcare choices, including perspectives on pain and suffering, and hospice and palliative care.
Culture also plays a major role in determining your religious and spiritual beliefs and practices, and how those may impact your decisions about rituals surrounding talking about death, dying and End of Life services.