As people age, it is important to think about every outcome that could happen in one's life, and an entire family should be involved. Families may want to discuss where their parents will go if they are unable to maintain independent living - whether it be home care, assisted living facility or retirement community. These decisions are important because many do not want the stress of an unwelcome surprise while dealing individuals' later years.
Another important aspect is seeing if a hospital or living community has palliative care, which is a medical sub-speciality that targets treating the pain and symptoms of an advanced illness. This can significantly increase the quality of life for these individuals, and can also raise life expectancy rates.
These hospitals and programs can sometimes be hard to come by, however. A study by the University of Georgia discovered that only 18 percent of hospitals in Georgia offer palliative care. In addition, almost half of these facilities did not even know what palliative care was.
This program is offered more in other parts of the country, reaching up to 60 percent of hosptials nationwide.