HELP US KEEP REPORTING. DONATE TO ORLANDO WEEKLY PRESS CLUB.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Floridians battling dementia get new tools for end-of-life decisions

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2020 at 12:15 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA ADOBE STOCK
  • Photo via Adobe Stock
Today, in honor of World Alzheimer's Day, a new online tool makes its debut to help people decide whether they want doctors to prolong their life, in the event they are diagnosed with dementia and then get a terminal illness.

Doctors are trained to save lives at all costs, but a 2018 poll about dementia found 80% of Americans think it's wrong to force someone to live for years in a condition they consider to be worse than dying.



Kim Callinan, president and CEO of the group Compassion and Choices, said patients often don't realize they don't have to undergo painful treatments or procedures.

"There is another option," Callinan said, "Which is that you could keep the person comfortable, allow them to be free of the symptoms so that they are not suffering, but allow that other disease to end their suffering and reduce the length of time that they live in a state of advanced dementia."
Statistics show Florida has the fourth-highest rate of Alzheimer's disease in the country.

The Dementia Values and Priorities tool on the Compassion and Choices website helps people decide which treatments they want, or don't want, at each stage of the disease. And a Dementia Decoder helps people figure out how far their disease may have progressed.

Callinan said it's important for people to make decisions about these issues themselves, while they still can. And it makes things much easier on their caregivers, as well.

"And it takes the guilt and guesswork out of caregiving," Callinan said. "Because that person doesn't have to think about, 'What would this person want in this situation?' They're able to use the tool to guide their care decisions."

The group is also releasing two videos today on its website, one that explains how to use the online tool, and another that traces a patient's journey as he uses the tool to make important decisions regarding his care.


_
Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation