Older Adults' End-of-Life Wishes Often Misunderstood
Many older adults don’t plan ahead for end-of-life decisions. And even when they do, their wishes are sometimes misunderstood. That’s what researchers found when they separately interviewed 350 veterans age 55 and older and the person they chose to make medical decisions for them should they become unable to communicate their wishes. More than 40 percent of the pairs reported that they hadn’t spoken about the veteran’s preferences for end-of-life care. When asked about situations involving severe physical or mental disability or pain, even the pairs who had said they communicated still gave different answers about 30 percent of the time. Doctors can often help seniors and their families with advanced care planning, and Internet-based tools are available as well. Here’s a good list.
Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, published online March 20, 2017