I see that a veritable storm of hysteria is being whipped up by the media/state, as people have suddenly realised that we are living longer.
No bad thing surely? (Unless you are watching the current Torchwood series).
Well yes and no.
Whilst it is nice that we have moved on from the Victorian habit of dying in a our mid 40's, we have also realised that living to a grand old age brings with it a number of problems eg:
- mental decline
- lack of respect from others
- loneliness etc etc
Whilst some of these issues can be resolved by families and neighbours being a little more interactive with those who are elderly, other issues (such as severe mental and physical decline) require professional help/intervention (whether that is day care at home, or more hands on treatment in a hospital/care home).
These interventions come at a cost, the older we live the more of us will need longer and more expensive professional help.
The state/media have now realised (Doh!) that as we live longer (around 30% of people born now will live to 100) it will cost more to look after us.
"Small problem", we can't afford it!
Estimates being bandied around, are that those who live to 100 in the future will spend around 60 of those years receiving state benefits (in one form or another).
No matter what positive changes we might make to society's attitudes to the elderly, and no matter how much more families actually help their elderly relatives, living to a "ripe old age" looks to be a pretty unpleasant prospect as we will end up having to entrust what remains of our bodies and minds to Nanny (a Nanny that is broke).
The irony in all of this is that Nanny keeps lecturing the "young" about their eating, drinking, smoking, exercise and drug taking habits.
In order that they may live longer!
A cost benefit analysis will show (I guarantee this) that it would be far better (for the state, and our quality of lives) if we drop dead of alcohol/food/substance abuse in our 50's/60's rather than live on in dreary boredom, neglect, squalor and abuse until we are 100.
Mark my words, Nanny will one day start to encourage us to smoke fags, take drugs and (if necessary) pop a suicide pill.
As my late uncles once said:
Getting old sucks!
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