When You Age in Place Do You Always Get To Die At Home?

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Most people prefer to age in place. They’d rather not move in with family or eventually transition to an assisted living or nursing home. Older and even middle aged adults often go to great lengths to select a residence with features suitable to meet their age in place goal.

But despite what progress many older adults have made in their efforts to age in place, most Americans still don’t die at home. The vast majority die in hospitals and other senior living residences. Increasing the chance that you die at home requires a few extra steps.

Put it in writing.
It’s wonderful to do a formal advance directive with an attorney. But you can also go to www.agingwithdignity.org and complete a “Five Wishes” form that will help to guide your loved ones about your end of life preferences. Also consider a POLST (Physician Orders For Life Sustaining Treatment) at www.polst.org. For example, you may be able to indicate that you don’t want to be resuscitated (DNR) if you have a life-threatening health condition.

Insist on hospice.
When you have a fatal condition your doctor can prescribe hospice when you are expected to live approximately six months or less. Most hospice services are provided in the private home and can limit or eliminate any trips to the hospital at end of life, increasing the chance you will pass away at home.

Talk about how you want to die with your loved ones.
Your family and friends who will be helping out when you are at the end of your life need to know your wishes. Many of us are very vocal that we want to age in place at home but never mention where we want to pass away. Don’t be afraid to have the discussions about wanting to die at home. Completing a POLST or Five Wishes form can help start these conversations.

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