End of life

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What Is End-of-Life Care?

At the end of life, each story is different. Death comes suddenly, or a person lingers, gradually fading. For some older people, the body weakens while the mind stays alert. Others remain physically strong, but cognitive lossestake a huge toll. Although everyone dies, each loss is personally felt by those close to the one who has died.

End-of-life care is the term used to describe the support and medical care given during the time surrounding death. Such care does not happen only in the moments before breathing ceases and the heart stops beating. Older people often live with one or more chronic illnesses and need a lot of care for days, weeks, and even months before death.

When a doctor says something like, “I’m afraid the news is not good. There are no other treatments for us to try. I’m sorry,” it may close the door to the possibility of a cure, but it does not end the need for medical support. Nor does it end the involvement of family and friends.

There are many ways to provide care for an older person who is dying. Such care often involves a team. If you are reading this, then you might be part of such a team.

The articles in this topic are written for caregivers and include suggestions from healthcare providers with expertise in helping individuals and families through this difficult time. Read about what you or a loved one might expect near the end of life, including:

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# - A

Advance care planning

Aging in place

Alcohol use or abuse

Alzheimer's dementia

Alzheimer’s caregiving

Anti-aging and longevity

Assisted living and nursing homes

B

Bladder health

Brain health

C

Calorie restriction

Caregiver health

Caregiving

Clinical trials and studies

Cognitive health

Constipation

D

Dementia

Depression

Diabetes

Disaster preparedness

Doctor-patient communication

Down syndrome

Driving and transportation

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.N | .O | .P | .Q | .R | .S | .T | .U | .V | .W | .X | .Y | .Z

E

Elder abuse

End of life

Estrogen

Exercise and physical activity

Eyes and vision

F

Falls and falls prevention

Family caregivers

Fatigue

Financial planning and protection

Flu

Frontotemporal disorders

  G

Genes and genetics

Grief

H

Healthcare professionals information

Healthy aging

Healthy eating, nutrition, and diet

Hearing

Heart health

High blood pressure

HIV/AIDS

Home health care

Home safety

Hormones

Hospice

Hospitals and hospitalization

Hyperthermia

Hypothermia

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I

Immunizations and shots

Incontinence

L

Legal and financial issues in Alzheimer's

Legal planning

Lewy body dementia

Living wills and advance directives

Long-distance caregiving

Long-term care

M

Medicines and medication management

Memory loss and forgetfulness

Menopause

Mental and emotional health

Men’s health - benign prostatic hypertrophy

Mild cognitive impairment

Mixed dementia

Mourning and grief

Movement disorders and problems

N

Nutrition

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Organ donation

Osteoarthritis

Osteoporosis

P

Pain

Palliative care

Parkinson’s disease

Prostate

R

Related dementias

S

Safety

Sexuality

Shingles

Skin care

Sleep

Smoking

Social activity

Speech disorders and problems

Stroke

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Talking with your doctor

Talking with your older patient

Teeth and mouth

Testosterone

U

Urinary incontinence

V

Vascular cognitive impairment and vascular dementia

Vitamins and supplements

W

Women’s health

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