People who live long are much more likely to be disabled and require caregiving during their last months of life, two new studies found.
"We found that about half of patients in that year preceding death had serious symptoms that forced them to either stay in bed or cut down on their normal everyday activities," said Dr Sarwat Chaudhry, lead author of the New Haven study and an associate professor at Yale University School of Medicine's Section of General Internal Medicine.
People commonly think that if they are disabled at the end of their life, it will come as the result of a fatal disease like cancer, Chaudhry noted. Her study revealed that is not necessarily the case.
"Our data do raise the question of whether it makes sense to sell the public a view of aging that purports that it is reasonable to expect to both live a long life and remain free of disability throughout life," Dr Alexander Smith, of UCSF, and colleagues concluded. "Our findings add to the evidence that those who live to advanced ages will spend greater periods of time in states of disability than those who die at younger ages."