Death is a certainty for all of us. For many old people in Western society age, illness and social death are inextricably linked. It is predicted that the number of people in the world who are over 60 years old will double by 2050. This brings fundamental changes to societal demographics. Many older people live in good health well into old age, but there remains a significant number for whom growing old includes the development of complex physical and social needs, requiring both health and social care. This poses a particular challenge to health and social care providers. This paper seeks to provide insights into the ways in which older people in contemporary society make sense of death and dying and makes a case for improvements in end‐of‐life care for this population.
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