If anybody were going to “put me” in a nursing home and I had any mental capacity, I wouldn’t want to be “put,” so I almost hope for some benign neglect on my daughter’s part.
—Athena, focus group participant
The desire of most Americans to live in their own home throughout their last years is powerful and deep-seated. According to AARP, 90 percent of people older than 65 prefer to remain in their home. And 90 percent of people, if they had less than six months to live, would choose limited care at home rather than advanced medical intervention in a hospital or nursing home, according to a 1992 Gallup poll.
This preference shouldn’t be surprising since there are a number of real benefits to living ...