Well-Being Longevity

Scientists create calculator that tells you when you are going to die

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Story at a glance:

  • The RESPECT calculator predicts life expectancy of an elderly person.
  • The calculator is based on collected medical records between 2007 and 2013 on the daily habits of 491,000 elderly people in a Canadian pilot program.
  • Research shows that signs of decline appear in daily living, such as the condition of one’s hygiene, use of the toilet or a person’s movement.

There is a life factoring calculator for elderly people that determines when they will most likely die.

The RESPECT calculator, the acronym standing for Risk Evaluation for Support: Predictions for Elder-Life in the Community, is a life evaluation tool that predicts deaths within a five-year span based on certain factors, FAST Company reported.

A part of a Canadian project called Big Life, RESPECT was created by 13 researchers who are experts in planning — like Amy Hsu, coauthor and adjunct professor in the School of Industrial Design and investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute.


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“The calculator allows families and their loved ones to plan,” Hsu, who is also affiliate investigator at The Ottawa Hospital, and faculty in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa, told Canadian Medical Association Journal. “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.”

The web-based tool uses 17 questions to factor when a patient might need palliative and end-of-life care, as this type of support often comes too late to have a meaningful impact, researchers say. 

The calculator is based on collected medical records between 2007 and 2013 on the daily habits of 491,000 elderly people in a pilot program in Ontario.

Research shows that a person’s decline starts with the condition of one’s daily living, such as the condition of one’s hygiene, use of the toilet or a person’s movement. These factors matter more in predicting someone’s mortality in six months than if the person has a disease.

“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,” says Peter Tanuseputro, physician-scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and ICES, and investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute. “As a person gets closer to death, the balance shifts from having curative care as the primary goal, to care that maximizes a person’s quality of remaining life.”


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