Study finds terminally ill seniors prefer to live longer in pain than for less time pain-free
November 28, 2011
A recent study from researchers at the University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, have found some surprising answers from elderly people living with chronic heart failure, Reuters reports.
To see how seniors with terminal conditions responded to end-of-life questions, researchers surveyed 500 elderly patients with heart failure to test if they would prefer to live longer while dealing with their condition, or if they had the option, to die earlier, but end in perfect health.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart failure sufferers live with symptoms that include shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness and swelling in the legs and feet.
Participants were asked the same questions during the first meeting, then again after 12 months and again at 18 months. From the initial data, scientists found that 74 percent of respondents would rather live two years longer in their current state than one year longer in perfect health. This number jumped to 80 percent at 12 months and remained equally high at the 18 month survey.
Many seniors who still choose to reside at home as they age, even with chronic disorders, may benefit from installing a medical alert system. This way, they can continue to live the life they want, but with the added security of having help just a push of a button away should they need it.