Review of “Being Mortal”

Government’s Role In Treating The Elderly

The proliferation of nursing homes was the end result of Medicare only paying for care  in approved hospitals. Nursing homes started popping up in 1965 because many hospitals couldn’t meet their standards.  The explosion of nursing homes was apparent by 1970 and regulations surrounding them were sketchy.  Later they became more stringent.  The book gives the history of a woman who was so dissatisfied with the care at nursing homes that she developed a new concept; assisted living.   She became so successful and was the beginning of the chain of events that included intermediate care and independent living.

How Do We Want To Live At the End?

The author artfully weaves a story of his own fathers demise with that of other case examples.  It was quite touching to read the narratives of people who faced with so many obstacles made the conscious decision to do what they could to stay alive.  They make the point that doctors tend to be either authoritative, or giving the patient choices to make their own decisions.  Most patients want a combination of both.  It points out many interesting findings. One, that patients nearing the end of life or facing difficult medical situations, need to think about what is most important to them.  I chuckled when I read the story about the man who wanted only to be able,to eat chocolate chocolate and watch baseball on TV!  They discovered that many people don’t know what they want and their desires will change as the obstacles mount up. Another interesting finding discussed in the book is that hospice patients fared better than those opting for all types of advanced treatment.  They tended to live longer and in a more comfortable way.

This is a book that I put off reading and I must say my reaons for doing so were unfounded.  This is a great book for all baby boomers to read and enjoy.  The title may be scary – but the book is not!


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