Can We Afford to Live 100 Years?
“If we’re lucky we’ll grow old.” I’ve heard. In my opinion, it’s only lucky if you have all your faculties about you and aren’t a burden to anyone else.
My mantra for years has been ‘I don’t want to outlive my usefulness’.
Usefulness: 1. Capable of being put to use or serving a purpose.
2. Having value or benefit, or bringing an advantage.
Whether that means writing something useful, or creating a work of art someone enjoys, or cooking a satisfying meal for my family… I need to feel I contribute.
My father-in-law, who I love dearly, has been retired now for thirty four years. He will tell you flat out he’s the laziest man alive.
In his defense, he worked like slave labor on a farm from the time he was seven until he left at twenty years old. Shortly thereafter he began working for the S.S. Kresge Co., who kept him as an employee when he enlisted for World War II so he would have a job to return to.
Good luck finding any company willing to do that today. It was his career until he turned sixty and retired. It provided a good living for his family and a good pension for his golden years.
He’s been a widower for twenty four years now, which is mind boggling to all of us who didn’t believe he’d last a year without mom. The man could barely boil water let alone cook for himself, yet he’s managed.
Up until this past year he has been quite self-sufficient. He even kept driving until last February.
The past nine months have been a very steep and fast decline for him mentally but he keeps on going. His goal is to live to be one hundred years old. I’ve been asking myself why for quite a while now. Not because I want him to die, but because I wish he would live.
What constitutes living? I’m sure it means different things to different people but, think about it. Would you consider just being alive with no purpose or goals other than hitting that magic number living?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. But…it begs the question, are we living longer than we really should?
Here in the U.S. we are dealing with phenomenal debt. You may have read about it. There is still a fiscal cliff we are headed for, it’s just not certain whether my generation, or my children’s, or my grandchildren’s will be the ones going over it.
Much of this debt comes from government services like Medicare and Medicaid. I must tell you when my husband went on Medicare this year and we saved over $700 a month on our health insurance I was ecstatic. Even with Obamacare health insurance won’t be cheap so every dollar matters.
With every step toward better health care comes another step toward more elderly people to care for. We have drug companies coming out with magic pills almost daily. To what end?
The over sixty-five age group represented 12.4% of the population in 2000. It’s expected to reach 19% by 2030. The majority of this age group is no longer contributing to the work force. And even if they are financially well off they are still entitled to the same government services. Should we have regulations for incremental benefits based on your personal wealth?
We have a majority in the House of Representatives that put millions of people at risk of losing benefits they truly need to spare the top 2% of the population having their taxes raised. Not because the people of this country wanted it that way but because the representatives had made a pledge to a wealthy conservative libertarian who was holding their feet to the fire.
As a Baby Boomer I see the population aging along with me and wonder what might it be like if we were to all live another thirty years.
Medical miracles happen so frequently these days you can hardly keep up. As much as I want a cure for cancer and that magic diet pill that will keep us all in better shape I wonder if we can collectively afford it.
Part of the reason healthcare is so expensive, in my opinion, is due to drug companies. Having worked in advertising for many years I’m very aware the cost of broadcast and print ads. Who do you suppose is footing the bill for all those Viagra ads? Then each ad ends with “Ask your doctor….” and they send the sales team out to every doctor’s office to load them up with samples so they can distribute the drugs when you do.
It takes about twelve years to take a drug to market. Only 5 in 5,000 are approved. Clearly it’s an expensive proposition. There are reports drug companies spend nineteen times more on self-promotion than research. Call me cynical but that seems a bit out of whack.
As you can see, I have a lot of questions and no true answers here. These are some of the things that keep me up at night. I would love to hear your opinion on these issues.