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Why, when, and where do older people die? 

Why, when, and where do older people die?
Why, when, and where do older people die?

Elizabeth H. Prsic

, Rebecca A. Spear

, and Joan M. Teno



Descriptions of global trends in morbidity causes have been reviewed to assure they continue to summarize currently available data;

Citations have been updated to reflect current data on global mortality causes and projections;

New chapter author added.

Updated on 24 September 2020. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 05 July 2022

The demographics of death among older persons have changed markedly over the past century. Individuals are living longer, but gains in life expectancy differ significantly between low-, middle-, and high-income countries. While individuals would previously succumb to infectious disease after a brief illness, older persons often suffer long periods of morbidity at the end of life in the setting of chronic, non-communicable diseases. With increased care needs at the end of life, older persons are more likely to die in an institutional setting, despite preferences for death at home. While site of death has been proposed as a quality metric, it captures only one aspect of the trajectory of end-of-life care. This chapter explores various aspects of death among older persons, and places the subject in a larger geographic, medical, and socioeconomic context.

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