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Don’t Put Off Important Discussions About End-of-life Wishes

Posted on 04/05/2013

The Tampa Bay TimesSeven in 10 Americans say they want to die at home. Yet 7 in 10 of us die in hospitals.

Even more of us — 82 percent — say it’s important to write down our wishes regarding end-of-life care. Yet just under a fourth of us have done so. Ellen Goodman, the former Boston Globe columnist, shared those statistics recently at a presentation about an important venture she helped create, the Conversation Project. Its aim is tough yet simple — to get people to really think about, and talk about, what they want at the end of life.

Goodman, speaking to a rapt crowd at the Association of Health Care Journalists’ annual convention in Boston, got into this topic in the most personal of ways, through her own mother’s death. Despite the contradictory statistics she reeled off, she spoke optimistically, saying she believes baby boomers will be the generation to change the American attitude toward death.