The Economist, in conjunction with the Kaiser Family Foundation, polled people in four countries to gain a deeper understanding of what is most important when thinking about end-of-life wishes. People from the United States, Brazil, Italy and Japan were given a list of preferences to choose from when envisioning how they want to live the last moments of their life.
What are the choices?
The international group was asked to take into consideration: where they would like to die, surrounded by whom, if spiritual peace and physical comfort are necessities and ultimately how their families would be affected. In all four countries polled, there was a considerable inconsistency between what people wanted and what they expected to happen to them when the times comes.
For the United States and Japan, one of the top priorities in long-term care planning is not burdening family and loved loves with the cost of care. In Brazil, a country where approximately 65 percent of its inhabitants are self-declared Catholics, the leading priority was being at peace spiritually. Italians want their end to be surrounded by those they care about most.
Preferences depend on geographic location
While the majority of people in each group claim to have given thought to their end of life wishes, many haven’t moved beyond that stage. Worldwide, only six percent of people have put their intentions in writing. Each country that participated had different ways of viewing death and when considering what is most important to people at the end, it really depends on where they came from in the beginning.