The Quality of the Last Year of Life of Older Persons

Researchers have begun devising measures of the quality of the entire last year of life of older community residents. Investigators in Philadelphia surveyed 150 living elderly on features of their quality of life, and matched the responses with 200 retrospective estimates obtained from relatives of decedents who had resided in the community much of the year. Most indicators showed declines for the deceased over their final year when compared with persons still alive; 82 percent of the decedents, however, experienced a majority of “positive-quality” months in their last year. Debates on the costs and ethical aspects of treatment and care need to take account of “positive” and “negative” aspects of quality of life reflecting individuals’ multifaceted existence.

Author(s): M. Powell Lawton; Miriam Moss; Allen Glicksman

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Volume 68, Issue 1 (pages 1–28)
Published in 1990