Old, Old Age

I've been spending a lot of time in the land of the very, very old lately--my father has just recently been admitted to a "senior center".  Perhaps soon I'll have a chance to write more about these things, but at the moment I just have one observation to make: it's really hard to see how best to manage old age (duh). If you arrest one aging process with drugs or technology, you open the door to other types of deterioration.  A pacemaker stops heart disease from killing someone, but sometimes at the cost of letting dementia become their primary problem.  Fix, fix, fix ... and eventually you'll wind up dying of the thing medicine can do least about, regardless of whether that's the best way to go.  And yet, how else to do things?  If you have a medical problem and there's a way to fix it, it's nearly impossible to look far into the future and say "I'd rather this death than that."  Nobody actually wants any death at all!  So: puzzling.  More later, if time permits. 


Eli said...

"Nobody actually wants any death at all!"

What makes you think that?

Aeolus said...

Here's an example of choosing one death over another:

Jean Kazez said...

Eli, Yes, a few people are suicidal, but the vast majority of people see death as a bad thing. So most of us don't want to choose between deaths. It's like choosing between car accidents or bad movies or disfiguring scars--our instinct is to reject them all, not choose the least bad.

Jean Kazez said...

Aeolus--nice example!

Wayne said...


Doctors often don't opt for end of life treatments.