Life Decisions Archive


Flowers, chocolates, organ donation — are you in?

February 14th is more than Valentine's Day –– it's also National Donor Day, when health organizations sponsor sign-ups for organ and tissue donation. For those in need, such a donation can be life-changing — or lifesaving. If you wonder what can be donated or how, read on.

Reframing hospice and palliative care

People who choose hospice care forego aggressive medical interventions, but still receive symptom relief and comfort measures. Palliative care differs by offering symptom-focused relief for people who are seriously ill at any stage. Routine hospice care supports patients in their home with medication and visits, while patients who need round-the-clock care can be cared for in either a hospital-based hospice unit, dedicated hospice facility, or nursing home. Patients who choose hospice receive support to carry out end-of-life priorities.

Managing the unthinkable

One in 10 Americans ages 65 and older has dementia. The condition is likely to progress slowly, offering couples the opportunity to adopt coping strategies that can smooth their path. Early on, you can consider treatment that may temporarily improve memory and thinking problems. People whose partners have been diagnosed should get informed about dementia, attend doctor's visits, take over certain tasks, keep routines, update legal documents, and join a support group.

How to choose and guide your health care proxy

A health care proxy is a person designated to make health care decisions for someone who becomes unable to make them. The best candidate for the job is someone who knows the patient well, such as a family member or friend. The proxy needs the emotional and mental ability to make decisions based on what the patient wants, no matter the health scenario or environment, such as a hospital or long-term care facility. At the time of proxy selection, the patient should communicate his or her beliefs, values, and wishes for care.

Taking it slow

While an active life is a healthier one, there are times when people can benefit from embracing a slower pace, an approach commonly known as "slow living." Slow living isn't about doing less, but doing more with greater focus and purpose and at the right speed. The approach can help people lower stress, increase concentration and memory, and become more engaged in activities they enjoy.

Back to the future: Psychedelic drugs in psychiatry

There is a renewed interest in the potential for psychedelic drugs to be used for medical purposes in the treatment of a variety of psychiatric conditions. Broadly, these drugs are able to induce altered thoughts and sensory perceptions, and research has found them to be beneficial in treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and they can also be helpful for some people in end-of-life situations.

What is palliative care, and who can benefit from it?

Palliative care improves comfort and quality of life for people with serious illness and their families, yet many people who could benefit from these services are not taking advantage of them

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