Scientists unveil online calculator to estimate how long senior citizens have left to live

Scientists have made a new online calculator to estimate how long senior citizens have left to live.

Canadian researchers believe the Risk Evaluation for Support: Predictions for Elder-Life in the Community Tool (RESPECT) programme will predict the end-of-life care needs older people require.

The tool asks questions about general information, underlying health conditions, and daily activities for older adults who use or need home care.

Data used for the website was acquired from almost 500,000 community-dwelling older adults who used home care between 2007 and 2013.

The team from the University of Ottawa in Ontario found decline in someone's ability to carry out daily activities, like using the toilet, or moving freely, were stronger predictors of mortality than the person's known diseases.

Researchers want physicians and home care staff to use the tool, which predicts death to within six months, to understand the needs of patients.

"The RESPECT calculator (www.respect.projectbiglife.ca) allows family and their loved ones to plan. For example, it can help an adult child plan when to take a leave of absence from work to be with a parent or decide when to take the last family vacation together," Dr Amy Hsu said, while Dr. Peter Tanuseputro added: "Knowing how long a person has to live is essential in making informed decisions about what treatments they should get and where they should get them."