Readiness for Decision Making towards End-of-Life Care among Unmarried or Divorced Middle-aged and Elderly Men in Japan


BACKGROUND: Previous research has found that 70% of patients cannot express their will at the end-of-life. Hospitals in Japan often demand patient's family member to guess the will and speak for them, but unmarried and divorced men often have no relative of friends to support them.

METHODS: Internet survey is conducted on February 14-24, 2020. Sample size is 3,224. Sample is balanced among 3 layers: gender, age (50s, 60s, 70s+), and marital status (unmarried, divorced, widowed, married). The sample contains 471 unmarried men and 472 divorced men. Survey result is calculated to the real ratio of gender, age, and marital status of Japan Census.

RESULTS: Overall, 3.1% had no one to support them if they are hospitalized. Unmarried or divorced men have little contact with relatives, have few friends, and little communication with their neighbors, and 20% had no one to support when hospitalized.60% never talked about their advanced care planning (ACP) with their families or friends, and this number was around 84% amongst unmarried or divorced men. "Ending note" is a notebook now popular in Japan to write one’s will for preparation for end-of-life and after-death. 11.7% has written an “ending note”, but only 3.6% of unmarried men has written this notebook.

CONCLUSIONS: As unmarried and divorced men have little chance tell their will to their relatives or friends, they are more likely to have difficulties in decision making at the end-of-life. The number of unmarried elderly men is increasing rapidly, and new method to express their will is needed.

Author Information
Makiko Okamoto, The Japan Research Institute, Ltd., Japan
Kanae Sawamura, The Japan Research Institute, Ltd., Japan

Paper Information
Conference: AGen2021
Stream: Loneliness

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