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April 14, 2016

A new survey of New Jersey adults shows that a majority (61 percent) are comfortable with growing older, although 17 percent would rather not think about it, according to a poll by Rutgers Eagleton, together with the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute.

Yet, despite the fact that 66 percent have given thought to end-of-life issues, only 40 percent have put their wishes in writing. What’s more, many adults, according to the survey, are not familiar with living-will advanced directives or the physician orders for life-sustaining treatment (POLST) recommendations.

Those who are 65 or older are more likely than others to have given these issues some thought (78 percent), have discussed it with someone (80 percent), or put it in writing (65 percent). Less than 50 percent of those between the ages of 50 and 65 have put these wishes in writing, and the middle-aged are much less prepared.

There are also racial disparities, with white residents (70 percent) more likely to think about (61 percent) preparations for end of life. What’s more, women are far more likely than men to have had a conversation with someone about their end-of-life care wishes.

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