A new study suggests that more than one in four of the elderly population will need someone to make their end-of-life decisions for them. This finding places a significant emphasis on the importance of creating a living will and stating after-life wishes explicitly. A living will is a statement that is written by the patient that explains their choices for treatment if he/she becomes incapacitated. Researchers also stated that someone must be designated to make the treatment decisions for the patients. The results of a recent study concluded that those who explicitly stated their end-of-life wishes in a living will were more likely to get the treatment that they wanted. In 2009, the end-of-life care topic became a part of the health care reform debate. During the debate, the legislation proposed that if they were given a provision, Medicare would be allowed to pay doctors in order to counsel patients about end-of-life decisions. This idea got denied because critics thought end-of-life counseling was similar to a death panel.
The study also showed that due to dementia, a stroke, or a debilitating illness, the elderly are unable to make their own decisions near the end of life.
(This study included 3,746 people who were 60 and over. They passed away between the years of 2000 to 2006. )