Many seniors will lose the ability to make their own health decisions, research shows

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Nearly 30% of seniors will eventually need someone else to make healthcare decisions for them, according to a recent report.

Researchers at the University of Michigan reviewed the records of 3,746 people aged 60 and older (the average age was 80) who died between 2000 and 2006. Nearly 30% of those individuals at some point prior to death became unable to make healthcare decisions for themselves, researchers found. Of that 30%, roughly two-thirds had a living will of advance directive.

Most individuals with an advance directive wanted non-aggressive palliative care; only 2% wanted aggressive life-prolonging care, according to the report. The research appears in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.