We are getting old, but not doing anything about it.” Her theme—shared by me—is that we need to do much more to prepare for the aging population.the author of “Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age,” has an excellent piece in the Dec 6, 2019, NYT entitled, “
We are the first generation in history that can—and indeed must—plan on living to 85 or 90. Some of us will skate through life relatively unscathed by health woes, but the American Geriatric Society predicts that one of seven 65-year olds will disabled for five years before dying. Ugh. Who is going to care for you? How will the care or the burden of caring be paid for? Is that a fair burden to dump on wives or daughters (men rarely give this level of care)? If you need assistance, can you pay for home health aides or a nursing home? If not, then what? Remember, Medicare does not cover this disability care.
We all fear growing old and not being able to control our own destiny. Will we be allowed to choose the end of our life when there is no chance of a cure or recovery?
According to a May 2018 Gallup poll, 72 percent of Americans agree that doctors should be allowed to help end a patient’s life painlessly if there is no hope of a cure. That is a huge number; the discussion needs to start, both politically and as part of your discussion with your health care agent.
Quoting from her NYT’s article, “Like climate change, the aging of America demands serious reconsideration of the way we live. Confronting the issue and its many implications, from Medicare’s failure to cover long-term care to the ethics of physician-assisted dying, requires what seems to be the most difficult task for human beings — thinking about the future.”
Let’s continue to read and think about this aging issue together. I am confident that together we can find solutions.