If You're No Spring Chicken, Don't Be an Ostrich

    • November 1, 2002

The American Association of Retired Persons (now known as AARP), Washington, produced an eight-page pullout special section called "Start the Conversation: The Modern Maturity Guide to End-of-Life Care" for the September/October 2000 issue of its Modern Maturity magazine.

The purpose of the guide was to heighten readers' awareness of end-of-life issues.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Targeted End-of-Life Projects Initiative.

Key Results

  • "Start the Conversation: The Modern Maturity Guide to End-of-Life Care," addressed four aspects of end-of-life decision making. These were:

    • Physical issues, including the definition of dying, pain management, settings (hospice, palliative and at-home care) and life support.
    • Emotional issues, including ways to help a dying person accept the inevitable, family support, talking with a doctor, emotional stages of death, final conversations and caregiving.
    • Financial issues, including costs of hospital, hospice and nursing home care; insurance; and Medicare and Medicaid coverage.
    • Legal issues, including advance directives (with information about Five Wishes, a questionnaire that guides people in making essential decisions about end-of-life care), legal obligations of hospitals and assisted suicide.

The guide also listed resources for medical and emotional care, legal and financial help and general information, as well as providing guides to hospice care and caregiver concerns.