It isn't how many days you live but what you do with each one of them, so says a Facebook philosopher. Facebook philosophers aside, a recent study confirms the sentiment that once we are physically unable to enjoy life, our attitude toward death changes.
People in their mid-90s told University of Cambridge researchers that they felt they were living on "borrowed time," but they felt grateful for each day and didn't worry too much about the future. The researchers spoke to several dozen people over 95-years-old (or their caregivers and relatives) about attitudes on death and end-of-life care. The findings were just published in PLOS ONE.
The oldest of the old are often willing to talk about death, but they're rarely asked about it, WebMD reported.
Most of the older people interviewed said they were prepared to die. "I'm ready to go," said one woman. "I just say I'm the lady-in-waiting, waiting to go."
What concerned the participants more than death was worry over whether they had become a burden to others. And there was more concern about how they would die rather than when. They wanted a painless death and said they hoped they would just slip away quietly in their sleep.
Perhaps it's time for the medical community to reconsider how it approaches end-of-life care?