This paper offers a conceptual framework that focuses on “care-getting”, a proactive means of insuring responsive and high quality care that is necessary for maintenance of good quality of life during the final years of life. Unlike traditional formulations and empirical studies that consider end of life issues among the terminally ill, we call for a broader consideration of the final years of life among older adults experiencing different health trajectories. We expect frail older adults dispositions, proactive adaptations, and responsiveness of their informal and formal social resources, to play key roles in achieving good quality of life close to the end of life. Such positive outcomes near the end of life help preserve the integrity of the person and contribute to a sense of being cared for . The conceptual framework we propose is a necessary next step for social gerontology, in order to incorporate preparation for dying into the life course. This important final life stage has been previously neglected in gerontological life course theory. Cross-cultural considerations in getting responsive care close to the end of life are discussed.
Keywords: End of life, proactive adaptation, life course, quality of life, social support
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