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Death, Dying, and Social Differences$
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David Oliviere, Barbara Monroe, and Sheila Payne

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199599295

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199599295.001.0001

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Death and dying in older people

Death and dying in older people

(p.101) Chapter 9 Death and dying in older people
Death, Dying, and Social Differences

Caroline Nicholson

Jo Hockley

Oxford University Press

This chapter first considers the challenges of end of life care in late old age. It then introduces the concept of ‘frailty’ in older people and the importance of acknowledging dying in old age as a more natural event than dying from cancer or other diseases earlier in the life course. It explores the concept of ‘natural dying’ in the Fourth Age as both an opportunity and a challenge: an opportunity to maximize and learn from the capacity of those living and dying in late old age; a challenge to the current professionalization of death and dying within the developed world, where the focus is on medicalized and ‘abnormal’ death in the very frail older people. Finally, the chapter looks at care homes as a place where older people live and die. It sets out the important role care homes now have in framing end of life care, the demands that beset them, and the aspiration that care homes could be significant in challenging society's taboo of death.

Keywords:   end of life care, elderly, old age, frailty, natural dying, care homes

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