Death and taxes. Both are certain, but we have a strange habit of pretending they’re not—until the deadline comes.
For example, do you know what your aging parents want done if a life-or-death crisis hits? Many people don’t. And doctors play a part in this topic-avoidance, geriatric physician Gene Dorio told the Los Angeles Times. They generally don’t do enough to help people think through difficult issues.
“Medical technology allows us to live longer, but is it with the quality of life we want?” Dorio wrote after reading a column I wrote about my father’s failing health. “The discussions are avoided and I believe physicians are responsible for this,” Dorio went on. “For some, dementia sets in, but for those who remain cognizant of mind and body, life can dribble away. Who can say when enough is enough?” …
“If you look on the board at the hospital, there might be 30 patients there and only a few of them have ‘No Code Blue,’ ‘DNR.’ Mine are often the only patients who have Do Not Resuscitate,” said Dorio. “The majority are full code,” meaning they want extraordinary measures taken to keep them alive in a crisis.
Have you had these discussions yet about your parents’ wishes—and your own?
Leigh Ann Otte is a freelance writer who specializes in aging issues and senior care. She covers both for the Today Senior Living blog.