Of the more than 2 million deaths in the United States each year, roughly two-thirds are of persons aged 65 and older. Most older adults die of chronic illness or long-term conditions that are incurable and persistent in their symptoms. As a result, the dying process is typically drawn out and marked by physical discomfort, limited mobility, and impaired cognitive functioning. The dying process also takes an emotional and financial toll on the patient's loved ones. This entry briefly describes 3 major issues that are of critical importance at the end of life: (1) decisions about medical care, (2) the components of a “good death,” and (3) the implications of death context and quality for the patient's loved ones. The conclusion highlights recommendations for policy ...

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