Life’s Sunset: Plan Before The Sun Goes Down 

Hosted by Bill Simmons ’58

The end of one’s life can be tragic --or warm and fulfilling.  To achieve a “good death,” knowledge, planning and execution are essential.  

This three-part series will give you the basic tools to plan your sunset and how to implement it. All three sessions will be held on Zoom. 

Session 1: Think, Talk, Write

Monday, October 23, Noon–1:30 p.m. CT

A good plan is based on thinking, talking and writing.  Why should you stop and think before you write? Why are family conversations important?  Are there limitations on what can be written in an advance directive?  Does a form have to be followed?  Why is choosing your agent so critical?  Do you need a doctor’s pink POLST order in addition?

Session 2: Medical Aid in Dying Laws, and Another Option

Wednesday, October 25, Noon–1:30 p.m. CT

Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) laws in nine states and D.C. allow some to choose to die early with the assistance of a physician.  Who qualifies and who doesn’t?  What if you don’t live in one of the MAiD states, is another “good death” choice available?  Can others legally help you?   What is hospice care and is it available to MAiD patients? 

Session 3: Planning for Possible Dementia 

Friday, October 27, Noon–1:30 p.m. CT

What is dementia? What is it about dementia that makes it so dreaded?  What are our choices when planning for it, just in case?  Why is your advance directive so important?

The series is progressive, but each session stands alone, too.  You are encouraged to attend all three if you can.

Register now for Life’s Sunset

This presentation series is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace individual professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the presenter and participants only and are not the opinion or position of Grinnell College or the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. Grinnell College does not endorse, or approve, and assumes no responsibility for the content, accuracy, or completeness of the information presented.

Bill Simmons ’58

Bill Simmons ’58Bill has had several careers since graduating in 1958.  First and last he practiced law, specializing in real estate and corporate matters.  Before the law degree from Hastings College of Law he taught guided missile repair; somehow the Army thought his music major would help with that.  Between the law stints he headed the California agency that led the world in mandating catalytic converters on automobiles, working in the administrations of Governors Ronald Reagan and Jerry Brown -- not many can claim to have worked for those two.  He was an air pollution control consultant for a few years, including work in Australia, and then he turned to real estate, but as a broker not as a lawyer.  After developing his brokerage into the 10th largest residential office in San Diego, he returned to law practice as a solo practitioner and became interested in end-of-life issues.

His initial goal was to motivate more people to write an advance directive, aka a living will with a durable power of attorney for health care.  That developed into writing a form for advance directives, which a very successful and respected hospice wanted for its potential patients.  Just as he finished the form the hospice went bankrupt and closed.  No other organization that Bill approached wanted an advance directive, so he created a website for it (  His work with hospice led him to teaching end-of-life issues.