Most people, when the time comes, would choose to die in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, if given a choice. While many of us will not be given a choice, according to a report in the New York Times, the percentage of Americans over age 85 who die in their homes has risen in recent years. On the other side, the number of Americans over 85 who have been hospital patients at the time of their death has been on the decline. On its face, this appears to be good news, given that it seems to fit with what people generally say that they want, however, statistics as usual tell only part of the story. These statistics tell only the place where the person was at the time of death, and do not relate the condition of the final days. Dr. Joan Teno, professor of community health and medicine at Brown Medical School has studied the final weeks of the lives of the elderly, and learned that in many cases, while people have died in their home, they may have been back and forth between home, hospital, and nursing home in their final days.
Another side of this issue is that while the percentage of elderly people who die in their home is increasing, and the percentage of elderly people who are dying in the hospital is decreasing, the percentage of elderly people who are dying in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities is also increasing. So while on the one hand, there is some good news, some of the news is not good. Dr. Teno notes that it is good that fewer elderly people are dying in intensive care units and in hospitals in general, but reminds that what is most important is the level of care that people receive in their final days.
With so many people dying in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and with those numbers on the rise, if you have an elder loved one in that situation, being sure that he or she is receiving the proper care is more important than ever. If you have any concerns about the care or treatment of your elder loved one, speak with a compassionate Colorado Elder Law Attorney with your concerns. Rhett Meyer has helped numerous families ensure the level of care of their elder loved ones, and can also help provide peace of mind that your family members are receiving the kind of care that they deserve. We all need to remember those who cared for us, when it comes time to care for them. For more information and a FREE CONSULTATION, contact Rhett at The Meyer Law Firm at (303)444-1618