Kim Callinan for Delaware State News: “Longer lives mean more diagnosed with dementia; advance care planning can help”

March 14, 2023

Read the full article at BayToBayNews.com.

Nearly half of all older adults now die with a dementia diagnosis, up more than one-third (36%) between 2004-2017, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

While these findings are disheartening, they also serve to underscore the importance of advance care planning for the care we want — and don’t want — should we get dementia. Thinking through these difficult decisions and having conversations with our loved ones and health care providers now, while we are still capable of making our health care decisions, will be a gift to our loved ones and to ourselves.

A good time to discuss your end-of-life care wishes with your family is when you are together, such as Memorial Day weekend in May.

It’s important to keep in mind that dementia, as a public health crisis, came as a result of significant advancements in medicine.

As we have discovered cures or treatments for many diseases over the last century that used to be life-threatening, life expectancy has increased, and more people are dying with and from dementia. In short, medicine can prolong how long the body lasts but not the mind.

However, the default mode within our medical system is to extend the patient’s life, regardless of the quality of life, even for people with advanced dementia. With little thought, we even subject advanced dementia patients to aggressive end-of-life interventions that inflict needless suffering.

Read the full article at BayToBayNews.com.

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