The last year of life: mortality, cause of death and need for help among old men.

Scandinavian journal of social medicine

PubMedID: 8816003

Viitasalo V, Nissinen A, Kivinen P, Takala J. The last year of life: mortality, cause of death and need for help among old men. Scand J Soc Med. 1996;24(2):132-9.
What will changes in the mortality patterns mean for the future? Is there any relationship between the cause of death and the assessed need for help during the last year of life? We used The Official Statistics to gain insight into the mortality patterns. We examined the independence from being reliant on other people's help, assessed from the health and social service records of 186 men in the age range 65-89 years from the Finnish cohorts of the Seven Countries Study. The proportional risk of dying from heart disease or cancer declined with age. However, the independence with regard to need of help lasted longer when men died from these diseases. There were 5-10 fold differences in the risk of needing daily help depending on the cause of death. It increased among the older men significantly just before death. These findings may have significance in the planning of health and home care with respect to changing mortality patterns.