Prevalence of living wills among older adults in Germany
Spuling, Svenja M.
Background: Living wills regulate medical decisions in emergency situations. Those who create a living will can have it registered voluntarily in the Central Register of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Little is known about the general prevalence of living wills. Methods: The German Ageing Survey is an ongoing, population-representative study. 4,185 people aged 50 and older were surveyed about living wills in 2020/2021. Results: 44.8 % of people aged 50 and older have a living will, women more often than men (50.1 % vs. 39.2 %), older people more often than middle-aged people. Educational differences do not exist. Conclusions: Living wills increase the autonomy in medical emergency situations because the patient’s wishes are specified in written form. People of all age groups should inform themselves about the significance of living wills and should seek advice about the contents, for example from the general practitioner or one’s own health insurance.
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