One of the most important reasons for you to offer long-term care (LTC) planning services to your clients is to help them die a better death.
Having adequate financial resources gives us the flexibility to live our lives the way we want to live them when we have the capacity to come and go as we choose and the future seems to stretch on in to infinity.
Financial flexibility may be even more important after the years have rolled on, bad test results have come back, and money gives us the ability to choose between whether we want to get every last possible hospital test and treatment till the end, to die calmly at home, or to die calmly in a nice, well-lit facility where other people — not relatives — will wash the dishes, mop the floors and change the bedpans.
The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging Related Statistics recently included statistics on death and end-of-life care in a compendium of key indicators of older Americans’ well-being.
Here is a look at what the federal agencies have reported in the end-of-life report.
Places of Death: Americans Ages 65 and Older
|Hospital – inpatient||49%||32%|
|Nursing home/LTC facilities||21%||27%|
|Hospice facilities, emergency rooms and other||15%||17%|
|Source: National Vital Statistics System/Older Americans, 2012|
Where do Americans ages 65 and older die?
One of the obvious problems with statistics is that they don’t show what people were really thinking, but the statistics on the places where older Americans die seem to tell a positive story.
The reality is that, of course, 100% of all Americans still die: 1.8 million Americans ages 65 or older died in 2009 alone.
But the percentage who die in noisy, sterile hospitals has fallen sharply over the decades, to 32% in 2009, from 49% 20 years earlier.
The percentage who die in nursing homes and other LTC facilities has increased to 27%, from 21%.
The percentage who manage to die at home has increased to 24%, from 15%.