A research study by the University of Georgia Institute of Gerontology focused on end-of-life preparations and preferences of elders and adult children of elders. Interviews were held with the two groups. The study determined that barriers to discussions about end-of-life preparation and preferences were fear of death, trust in others to make decisions, family dynamics, and uncertainty about preferences. Factors that promoted these discussions were acceptance of the reality of death, prior experience with death, religion or spirituality, and a desire to help the family.
Casually approaching end-of life discussions and creating written records of preparation and preferences were considered successful strategies for expanding communication on this sensitive topic. Knowing good solutions to overcome obstacles and promote these discussions can assist healthcare professionals in encouraging elders and their families in planning ahead.
What are the needs of the dying? How can the end of life be integrated as a natural and sacred human process? This video titled “Solace: Wisdom of the Dying” presents perspectives on dying from hospice patients and healthcare professionals.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog