A couple of key issues that relate to ‘longevity’ have cropped up in Ireland in recent weeks and now everywhere I look I seem to be seeing things about people wanting to prolong life and try and evade death by hook or by crook.
Irish people (like those in other developed countries) are living a lot longer than they used to and very little provision was made for this. So now we have a situation where older people are ‘clogging up’ beds in acute hospitals because they have nowhere suitable to go. Home care packages just aren’t sufficient and there aren’t enough nursing home or supported-living places.
The idea of being stuck in an acute hospital, not in the best of health, worrying about ‘where to’ next is something that fills me with dread. I witnessed elements of this with my own parents when they were in their late eighties and their quality of life was declining. However, they were fortunate to be able to remain in their own home, with care, and this mattered hugely to them both.
The vast majority of Irish people want to die in their own homes but only a small percentage actually achieve this goal.
For me, there is a key question about whether people want to live on because they don’t want to die ~ either because they fear it or because they don’t want to leave others behind.
I feel that quality of life is key and having to ‘exist’ when the mind and body have essentially outlived their time is a form of cruel imprisonment than no one deserves to have to endure unless s/he chooses.
I realise that this is controversial territory but maybe it is a debate which society badly needs to address.
What’s your view on the matter?