I am writing to express my gratitude for the thoughtful, in-depth reporting in your recent special report, “The Challenge of Our Age.” I respect your coverage of both our aging population and hospice care in particular (“Someone to watch over the journey’s end,” Oct. 19).

I appreciate the dignity with which hospice and the spiritual journey of our clients were treated in your reporting and commend your exploration of a complex and multidimensional subject that can often be reduced to stereotypes and sound bites.

The need for dialogue and education around the end of life is ever-present. Maine is the second-oldest state in the nation. Whether we are approaching end of life ourselves or have family members, friends, patients or parishioners who are, all of us need to become more informed.

Amid our outreach in the community, we see that the desire and need for spiritual guidance is often as strong as the need for medical counsel, among both family members and the dying. And we see an opportunity to continue this conversation not just among hospice workers and volunteers, but across lines of spirituality, medical practices and familial roles.

This opportunity can be manifested in continuing to build on the conversations ignited by your special report.

Thank you for your empathy and respect in reporting on what can often be a difficult subject.

Daryl J. Cady

chief executive officer, Hospice of Southern Maine

South Portland