Image: Life Cycle Vocabulary
YouTube: Nat King Cole: "This is all I ask...
"Let the music play as long as there's a song to sing ..."
Increased Longevity = Unintended Consequences
Move over Al Gore; this is the real "Inconvenient Truth".
It's not that people resent the elderly personally (one hopes); it's that they/we are seen to be taking up resources, a situation that some other people feel has the potential to deprive the young. In other words, nothing personal, it's only about money.
Nowadays, it seems, everything is always about money. There's a reason it's called "the root of all evil".
Even the medical "expert" (physician to the "Stars") in this article ...
SevenFigurePublishing: The unintended side effects of longer lifespans
... commands respect mainly due to his massive corporate wealth.
Youth often feels resentment at old people taking up space and resources. They forget that those old folks contributed to the work force, paid their taxes, had their salaries docked for the Canada Pension Plan, and did all kinds of volunteer work that saved the government money, so that, here in Ontario at least, young people now have prescription drug benefits in addition to free health care. (Not sure if that includes the all-important "morning after" pill).
They have a case though, because one thing young people don't have, but fully deserve, is a free university education. And that's the fault of government, not of the people who've paid taxes since their own youth.
It makes no sense that our government can, for instance, send massive contributions to something like the Clinton Foundation while our young people sink deeper into the debt of students loans -- and our native peoples have no clean water to drink and bathe their babies in.
For those of us who are getting on, however, our greatest concern, apart from our general health, is the spectre of the old age "home" -- a loss of our independence.
Here's a PBS video that could break your heart, but also reveals the trend toward not treating illness in frail old people beyond drugs that will mitigate suffering and allow a peaceful death. It makes sense if agreed to by the patient; it could, however, be a prelude to enforced euthanasia.
So our young people, who will be old quicker than they imagine, should think twice about what should or should not be done about the elderly.
Metafilter.com: Is longevity the curse of happiness? In this forum, younger people assess the overall happiness of their aged loved ones -- but I wonder how many of those aged relatives simply put on a brave face when the younger folk arrive, so as not to make them want to shorten the visit.
What's the point of talking about one's ailments, anyway? It's not as if one is unique in that department.
This response regarding a "depressed" grandmother really irritated me. "... a little zoloft has really helped". No big deal that we have drugged grandma with addictive narcotics! Not to mention the many and varied potential side effects.
My dear old friend, Sharon, who is deep into dementia now, told me 30 years ago that her mother had developed some problems that seemed like an allergic reaction, and her doctor couldn't figure out which one her meds was causing it, so he took her off all of them for a while to see what happened. After which Sharon's mother exclaimed that she'd never felt better in her life!
Physicians, pawns of the Pharmers it seems, actually believe the selling points of "geriatric medicines", to the point where even an old person's dentist automatically assumes the patient is on them, and is prepared to take precautions accordingly.
Here's what I think is the most astute response in the above forum:
Which describes Yours Truly to a tee with regard to my closest friends of more than 40 years. You know you're unlikely to have that kind of rapport, that close camaraderie and raucous laughter again. So you do have to watch out for depression. And you really do have to see the humour in life itself. You have to keep acting as if you're in your right mind, and contributing in the best way you can because the tears might come easily if you don't.
The upside is that laughter also comes easily. The one thing I can do for my friend who has become like a one-year-old is to make a funny face. It never fails to make her laugh.
It's a real pain when you don't look as pretty as you once did. It bothers me, for instance, that my two front teeth are not as white and perfect as they once were, so I'm going to get porcelain veneers next month. All I can think of is, "I hope I don't end up looking like Bugs Bunny", and the thought of that cracks me up laughing. See, there's humour in everything!
But, back to that forum: here are an additional couple of the more insightful responses:
True, but then I think: "So what if it takes me longer to formulate a blog post. Big deal. The second one took me back a bit because I really do find vacuuming very hard on my back muscles. Luckily, rather than depressing me, it only makes me wonder how much it would cost to get a "Molly Maid" in to do the job for me, once a month or so.
But then I find that bending over to use a dustpan and brush for the more noticeable debris is actually very good for my back, so if I do that religiously, I may not need to vacuum so often, and when I do, my back might be in better condition. Spit, spot, as Mary Poppins would say.
The older one gets, the more resourceful one often becomes in pursuit of sustained independence.
As for memory: I read somewhere that the reason you can't remember the thing you walked into another room for is that you thought of it in a different place. So all you have to do is, either mentally or physically, go back to the place you first had the thought, and it will return. It works pretty well.
Now, the following is what I consider to be a welfare trap, a further indignity to old people:
CP exclusive: Free dental care for low-income seniors to be announced in budget
If free health care is universal in Ontario, regardless of income, so that people can run to the parent-figure doctor with every little sniffle and cough, why not universal free dental care for everyone as well?
And why pointedly comment that it will cost $100 million per year? The perception is already there that we raisins are draining the public coffers, and now we're taking more.
What's being offered, however, is disguised "social assistance" -- in other words "welfare", with all of its nasty connotations. It won't pay for dental veneers, that's for sure. They will pull an infected tooth, but it's not likely they will give you an implant to replace it. And, worst of all, you will get the put-down treatment that's always been afforded welfare recipients.
The clue is in this paragraph of the CP article:
You won't have a choice of dentist, and they'll talk down to you and, at best, will call you "dear" and "sweetie".
I'm fortunate to have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan since its inception and, thanks to non-profit housing for seniors -- which simply means the housing is financially sustainable without raking in extra dollars for some profiteer (I bet everyone would like a non-profit Bell Canada!) -- I can manage to live on OAS and set aside the CPP amount each month to take care of my own dental expenses.
Up until now I've had only what I absolutely needed: an implant and three crowns, to save my chewing ability. The upcoming veneers will help prevent further deterioration of my two front teeth and improve their appearance, and that's a gift I'm giving to myself for having paid my own way, all my life, since I was 13 years old -- and even during my marriage -- by having recreated myself several times in order to stay in the workforce.
As a senior, I can manage quite decently, but I still think the Ontario government should provide free dental care to everyone, young or old, as part of the overall health care coverage. Your teeth affect your health and OHIP should cover teeth. As it stands, this new sop is just that, and it's undignified and I wouldn't want anything at all to do with it.
Here's a little personal story that may make you laugh. I always try to get my dentist to laugh because sometimes he seems a bit overworked, and this one did the trick. At each visit, he always asks me about my overall health before beginning a procedure because it's required of him to do so. But since I've avoided the medical profession for over 22 years (think of the money I've saved OHIP), I can only offer my own opinion. My dentist is astute enough, however, to guess by my overall presentation that I'm in decent health and not likely to pass away while in his chair.
But, just because I like him, I decided to visit a "Street Level Health Centre" -- a walk-in place within close enough proximity to my home that I can easily get there on foot. I asked if I could get a general heart/blood pressure check-up and the answer was, "Yes, if you just got out of prison or are a drug addict." Are you laffing? Do you see the irony?
Well, it made my dentist laugh, so that's something.
And if I ever decide I'm getting to the point that some of those folks in that PBS video have reached, I fully intend to take matters into my own hands.
Seconal (Secobarbital) has now been sanctioned in Canada as a life-ender, but you'd have to get a prescription for it from a doctor, who probably would grill you as to your intentions and state of mind, and might want to supervise. But I'm the independent type, as you may by now have guessed. Besides, what's the worst that can happen if you do it on your own? That you might die from it? Are you laffing?
I may be going out on a legal limb here but, through an Internet forum, I discovered an online pharmacy that will mail, in non-scannable packaging, enough Seconal to allow one to vacate this life in a quiet, dignified and speedy manner. There are some other Internet pharmacies willing to do so as well.
I also learned that Seconal has a long shelf life -- 15 or so years -- so that's good too.
I haven't placed an order yet, but it's a great comfort to know that there's a respectable, grown-up way out of the stigma and horror of the very worst of old age. The only drawback is that your purchase has to be made using Bitcoin. And that's a project for another day, which I have a strong feeling I'll live to see.
Hope I haven't depressed anyone. I actually feel pretty good, though I do wish the government would stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.
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