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No. of Recommendations: 55
End of life decisions are hugely personal with every answer having pros and cons. More importantly, there is no answer that will eliminate the suffering that comes with extreme old age.

Dad was an estate planning lawyer and he was the Commissioner of Accounts for the county in which I was raised. He helped the Episcopal church put together a bond issue for Westminster Canterbury, a high end ccrc with nice independent living cottages for vibrant young couples 55 and over who still wanted to drive and shop and go to theater, assisted living facilities for people who were still able to feed themselves and take walks and drive to town but were losing their ability to care for themselves, and a 'health center' for those who were nearing the end and could not care for themselves.

Mom and Dad bought a cottage at Westminster Canterbury when they were in their early 80's but still young and vibrant enough to drive, go to movies, eat out, and also enjoy the bridge games and other social activities that were offered. When Mom started to fall down a lot and lose her wits, they moved to the assisted living center where they could still participate in social activities.

They went downhill fast after that. Mom lost her wits due to dementia that was caused by a combination of cardiovascular blockages and injuries from falls. Even the finest nursing homes make prisoners of their patients who are at risk of falling in part because the children of those people who are risk of falling are all too quick to blame the home for each and every fall.

In any event, Dad was 90 when Mom died. Dementia set in. He woke up every day and wailing and crying, "somebody help me" asking for "Jo" (Mom). Nobody could console him. After a lifetime worthy of a Viking saga - raised on a dirt farm, served in WWII, earned a law degree with the help of the GI bill, etc. - the last three years were awful.

And no amount of planning could change that.
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