What happens if health gradually (or quickly) declines??

My interview today raised a question we’ve only scratched the surface of. We’ve talked about advanced medical directives, but those are really for life or death type situations, or questions of life support. What happens if someone loses their ability to think for themselves, or even take care of themselves? My interview today focused on the mother of my interviewee who lost all ability to take care of herself over the course of a year, and needed to go into a nursing home. Similar to the question of ‘what would they have wanted’ when someone dies, what about when you are a family member who needs to determine the type of care someone who isn’t coherent receives?

My interviewee said she thought that in comparison to funeral or memorial decisions, this one is much more difficult, and can put significant time pressure on family members to make decisions they have no experience with. This can include the type of care and home someone goes into after they’ve lost the ability to make decisions or take care of themselves. We will have to think more about this – my interviewee made the great point that as more and more elderly people live longer and longer, the quality of that life is probably decreasing for many….Extended low-quality elderly lives are a reality that many will face, and we should consider whether this is something we can address in our offering…..

-Chris

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