May 26, 2024

The rich die differently

Wealthy American die with less pain than poor Americans, researchers at the University of Michigan have found. Men and women whose net worth was more than US$70,000 were 30% less likely than poorer people to have felt pain often in the year before their death. They were also less likely to suffer from shortness of breath and depression. “The older adults we studied who lived in the community suffered as much in their last year of life as do younger people who are severely ill and hospitalised,” said the researchers.

The study was based on a survey of the deaths of about 2,600 people between 1993 and 2000. The authors speculated that poorer older people tend to skimp on medications. Wealthier people might express their symptoms more assertively and demand better care. They also have better social networks and more access to services over and above insurance plans.