Harvard Men's Health Watch

Living wills become more common

The number of older adults with living wills and other advance directives has increased, but that doesn't make it less likely for people to die in the hospital, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Association.

Advance directives are legal documents that state what kind of life-prolonging steps you do and don't want and who can make medical decisions for you if you are not able to. They include living wills, durable power of attorney, and do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders.

The study drew on findings from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). The HRS found that in 2010, 72% of those age 60 and older had an advance directive in place by the time of their deaths—up from 47% a decade earlier.

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