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Monday, 7 November 2016

Not the way to go

On the way to a short walk yesterday we happened to be chatting in the car about old age and how so many people go into a long decline which saps their dignity in such a cruelly lingering manner. Universal health care was never supposed to be like this but it is. Huge numbers of people now live long lives, well beyond the physical and biochemical competence of their own body. Too often they are fated to die a far from dignified death.

Coincidentally we popped into a cafe for a coffee while a heavy rain shower eased off. As we pushed open the door we came across a chap we once knew as a keen walker. Ten years ago in his early seventies he was still good for a ten mile walk every Sunday, but not now. Reduced to a bent old man he could barely hobble to the car with the aid of a couple of sticks.

Such a common story too. Some are lucky and some are not. Some age well and some don’t and much of it seems to be down to bad luck rather than leading a healthy lifestyle. Decent healthy people slowly wrecked and abused by their own bodies failing too slowly. It is an impossibly difficult issue but I've seen too much of it - I cannot believe we handle it well as a society. We may as well smoke, drink and hope for a quick exit.

9 comments:

Sam Vega said...

"I cannot believe we handle it well as a society"

Let us hope that we can handle it well as individuals, if need be.

Henry Kaye said...

Your posting is most appropriate for me and my wife. I am 85 and my wife is 83 and we are slowly falling to pieces. A lot of people seem interested but nobody can help. You get to this stage and some of us yearn for death.

Mac said...

A K Haart,
Reminded of the so sad words I heard on TV some time ago;
"...old peoples homes are full of folk who've run out of life before they've run out of time."

Demetrius said...

Today there is a difference. Once all you might have was memories and those uncertain and faded. Now with the internet it is possible to revisit the past or be reminded vividly. Only this morning for family I was able to show what a holiday was like near fifty years ago when they were young. Essential information, and a good youtube item on a Fete des Fleurs in France. Never mind Google Earth to help. Then of course, there was Twickers..........

A K Haart said...

Sam - often the ability to handle it at all is taken away by dementia.

Henry - it would be impertinent of me to add much to that, but see the comment left by Demetrius below.

Mac - they are, I've been there. Dire places even if well run.

Demetrius - that's the spirit. Long may it continue. I'm hoping an active mind will have many compensations.

wiggiatlarge said...

It is a problem that is being compounded by the increasing longevity of all of us.
A few years back I spoke an uncle who had been ravaged by the fact he had to look after his wife 24/7 for years, she'd had Crones desease since her teens and amazingly lived into her nineties.
He said to me when I asked how he was (for obvious reasons) that we are being kept going by medical science and procedures long beyond what the human body is capable of of enduring and how in one hundred years life expectancy had risen from around 55 years to the current 79 and rising, our bodies degenerate and the more that is done to prolong life the more ailments that start to kick in with ever more years.
The answer, I have no idea.

A K Haart said...

Wiggia - yes, we have to die of something and stretching things out is not a blessing for everyone.

James Higham said...

Then there is aging well to a certain point, then something is triggered in the metabolism and it's rapidly down from there.

A K Haart said...

James - not always obvious either, until things go seriously wrong.