about the book

This easy-to-use guide for caregiving instructs you how to:

  • Have the conversation
  • Navigate the emotional and spiritual journey
  • Give the best care possible
  • Control pain
  • Address symptoms
  • Work with hospice
  • Care for yourself!
  • Get your loved one's affairs in order
  • Understand the dying process
  • Go on living after the loss.

living with dying blog

Chances are you will be a caregiver for someone at the end of their life. This blog provides resources, tips and stories to help you and your loved one through the journey.

meet the authors

Katie Ortlip received her nursing degree from Santa Barbara City College, and earned a BA in Psychology and Masters of Social Work at SUNY-Albany. She has spent the past 25 years working as a nurse and social worker for Asante Hospice in Southern Oregon.

Jahnna Beecham: Editor and contributing writer for National Geographic’s Science Encyclopedia (2016). Author of more than 130 books for juveniles and young adults.


Since 1993


"We absolutely love this book! It’s hands-down the best caregiver guide book available. What a fantastic guide to managing caregiving responsibilities up to and through the end of life. Thank you for this amazing resource!"

—Helen Bauer & Jerry Fenter
Co-creators of The Heart of Hospice 

"The American Cancer Society should give this book to every oncologist, geriatrician, and person who cares for a patient with a terminal illness."

—Dr. Robin Miller, MD, MHS
Advisory Board, Dr. Oz's Sharecare Network


What the experts have to say:


"This is a how to book for anyone, whether you are a medical professional or otherewise on the practical aspects of caring for anyone with a terminal disease. As a hospice nurse I have counseled many people on caring for their loved ones: hospice will teach you much, but there will be lots of things that you will encounter that you will want to know right wayyou can pick up this guide and get answers quickly. If hospice is not involved yet, it is also very helpful. When your loved one lands home from the hospital, everyone is stressed: hospice will help, but it is still overwhelming! This book will guide you on what matters most in a simple hands on easy to learn fashion. Many have read the book What to Expect When You Are Expecting: remember all those little things that mean so much when it is actually happening? This is the book you need when you, your family member or friend has been given the words that in the hospice medical world goes like this: if the disease takes it’s natural course you will die in likely six months or less."

—Holly James
Hospice Nurse


"I am so grateful for the opportunity of speaking with Jahnna and Katie, about their book, Living With Dying, and for the compassion and wisdom they shared around this beautiful mystery. This has been one of the most moving episodes for me."

—Lourdes Viado, Women In-Depth


"When losing a loved one, we are at a loss: How do we give care? How do we talk about it? How do we make business and financial plans? How do we face the final hours? This book is the one book we need: respectful, experiential, richly researched, joyful."

—Barbara Brownell Grogan,
former Editor-in-chief, National Geographic


"This may not be everyone’s favorite topic, but nothing is truer than our time will surely come. If we mean what we say, that we and our loved ones wish to die at home, then this is exactly the sort of help we are grateful to receive. Thanks to Katie and Jahnna for making it available to us now."

—Ellen Waldman, Author and
Certified Aging Life Care Professional

"Aging Happens, One Year of Columns
from the Ashland Daily Tidings"


"Jahnna Beecham is an author who has also worked as an editor for National Geographic. Katie Ortlip first trained as a nurse, following which she did a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in social work. She has worked for Asante Hospice in Oregon for the last 25 years.

This is a straightforward, easy-to-use, easy-to-understand guide to caregiving, humorously described as a sort of “Death for Dummies” guidebook. It is divided into four sections. The first, Living With Dying, is about the journey, being with someone, hospice, and looking after yourself. The Caregiver’s Manual provides useful and accessible information on all aspects of care, complemented with numerous illustrations demonstrating some of the physical aspects of the care. The Journey’s End is about the process of dying, what you need to know, what you can do, and a chapter on how to go on living. The last section provides guides to things like Doc Talk, medications, the Pain Ladder, and online resources.

I thought this book was set at about the right level for the average person who needs this information. It was very much to the point, rather than long and wordy, and I felt the information was well set out and accessible. It is very practical and includes instructions on how to—have the conversation, navigate the emotional and spiritual journey, give the best care, control pain, address symptoms, work with hospice, care for yourself, get your loved one’s affairs in order, understand the dying process, and go on living after the loss.

I was impressed. I think this book would be very helpful to anyone caring for a dying loved one. When you are dealing with caregivers who seem lost or are actively seeking information, you could consider recommending this book."


                   —Roger Woodruff, May 2018,
International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care


"For those approaching the end of life with a terminal illness, the many benefits of hospice and palliative care are now well known and widely accepted. However, many of those who actually provide such bedside care for dying persons (especially untrained family members) are inexperienced, fearful and overwhelmed by the gravity, the complexity and the many uncertainties of the process.

"Now, with this refreshing new book, Living With Dying: A Complete Guide for Caregivers, Katie Ortlip (a 25-year hospice caregiver/social worker) and her good friend and author Jahnna Beecham (a most talented and engaging story teller), have created a much needed, wonderfully simple, complete, practical and user-friendly guide . . . for anyone who would give the great gift of compassionate end of life care to those who matter most in their lives.

"Whether you are an inexperienced family member or a seasoned professional, I suspect you will find here an invaluable resource and a trusted companion as you journey through one of life’s most challenging, and rewarding, opportunities."

                   —John Forsyth, M.D. Retired physician and volunteer/board member Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice


"Everything that you need to know about being a caregiver is in this book."

—Hellen Bauer, RN & Jerry Fenter, Chaplain
The Heart of Hospice

CLICK HERE to listen to The Heart of Hospice, Five for Friday, Episode 057 (6 min)


What some of our readers have to say:


"I want to let you know that I think it is a wonderful accomplishment. I love how well it is organized, very easy to read, gets lots of info out with no wasted words, while at the same time going very deep in recognizing the spiritual and emotional needs of patients and care givers. I was amazed at the large scope it covers."  
Dana Knoke
"Thanks to you and Katie for writing Living With Dying. All I can say is I wish you had written that book years ago when I had my hands full of caregivingearly, and ongoing in my life. Even with all your welcome humor, it brought up a lot of stuff for me, having experienced all that you spoke about. Thank you though. I think your book is an important resource for those who are suddenly faced with caregiving and have no experience. For those of us who have had experience, your point about guilt and telling ourselves we did the best we could is very important."
—Paula Sendar, Oregon


"I am so extremely impressed with your interview with Lourdes Viado on Women In-Depth podcast. I have been honored to sit with several dear friends and clients as they transitioned, and this book would have been such a treasure for me. I will be purchasing it as soon as possible and sharing it with everyone."

—Dana Bailey


"When my father entered his decline and ultimately, his death I found many books on the subject—some helpful, some not—but none with this specific focus."

—Paul Mason Barnes, Oregon


"Having gone through this with two grandparents, this book would have been helpful."

—Brandy McClendon, Illinois

"I've referred over and over to this book just recently. It's a great resource. I showed it to our hospice nurse and she loved it. I highly recommend this well written work!"

—Rose Moothart Barnum

"I just wanted to let you know I love your book Living With Dying. I wish I had such a good resource when my parents were going through the dying process. Congrats to youit is on my Kindle."
—Kenned MacIver


living with dying

a complete guide for caregivers

Available through Amazon Books and Amazon Kindle

The information on this site is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. You should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to you or your loved one’s health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.