Longevity – Do You Vote For or Against?


How fortunate it seemed to me to find an essay by Natasha Singer (SLIPSTREAM, The New York Times, Sunday, October 17, 2010) titled “The Financial Time Bomb of Longer Lives.”

Two day before I had received in my mailbox yet another sales pitch for a product that would “extend my life.” It was a subscription to medical information that most doctors won’t tell you about, proven nutrients and additives and other health-giving innovations that are kept from us by some sort of conspiracy. What I finally decided was that it was interesting to know there is another underground movement toward better solutions in health care –but reading it would just make me feel worse. As a good friend said recently, “I’m tired of talking about my body.”

View From New Low Cost Housing for Tucson Seniors

For heaven’s sake, I’m 72 years old, and I do not think I’ll live to be 100. That’s a good thing. I have changed physicians from a PCP who loves handing out samples and prescriptions to one who practices integrative medicine. I have in a year eliminated all but three of my eight daily prescriptions. More importantly, he is a geriatric specialist and medical director of a hospital’s hospice care system. I don’t have to change doctors ever again.

Ms. Singer’s essay is quite lofty; it calls for a complete transformation throughout the world and across organizations and industries of age-related spending – and to take up aging as a cause. On the up side, she mentions we could stop thinking of aging populations as “debt loads” and view them as “valuable wells of expertise.” On the down side, “we can’t afford to live so long.”

That suggests something very important: While you have the means – car, email, bus pass – get out there in your community and share your knowledge. Most of us are living in cities and states that need advice badly, and pretty soon the people who fought their way up the career ladders and going to ask for our help.


3 comments to Longevity – Do You Vote For or Against?

  • That last paragraph rings a bell for me. When I was scheduling back surgery for June 2009, I wondered if it would be cost effective for a 74 year old to have such expensive surgery.
    Fortunately, I now see that without that intervention I would have continued on pain meds and no doubt become an invalid. I do have the means–transportation and communication and the good fortune of being a member of my generation–the one who remembers how to get through the bad times and how important it is to share our knowledge of history with our grandchildren.

    • karen

      So right, Ann. Once dependent on painkillers, the quality of life drops precipitously.
      About history: Our contemporary culture is very shallow and self-centered, and it is sad to realize many of us — even our generation – do not value history until we are in our middle years and our grandparents have died. We should have asked more questions, we realize. Story Corps on NPR has been a great reminder of this.
      By the way, I am reading your book. I admire you for not just feeling sorry for yourself when your husband was diagnosed with brain cancer, but had the steel in your spine to tell your story in such a way that it is useful for others. A CAREGIVER’S STORY: COPING WITH A LOVED ONE’S LIFE-THREATENING ILLNESS is a really great resource!

  • As appalling as the likely DREAM Act defeat will be, the Food Safety bill, which took decades of dogged advocacy to create, is likely going down since it was attached to the Omnibus bill that Reid withdrew. They may try to reattach it to something else, but all it will take to block that is the objection of one senator–and the odious Tom Coburn from the meat state of Oklahoma is likely to do that. So a doctor will be responsible for more food deaths that will inevitably occur. So add more sick food poisoned kids to those poor kids who won’t be able to go to college. Charming country we live in.

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