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posted by martyb on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:18AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the but-what-dreams-may-come-when-I-have-shuffled-off-this-mortal-coil? dept.

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the US National Institutes of Health, writes at The Atlantic that there is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. "It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic." Emanuel says that he is isn't asking for more time than is likely nor foreshortening his life but is talking about the kind and amount of health care he will consent to after 75. "Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either." Emanuel says that Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. "I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop."

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by EvilJim on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:54AM

    by EvilJim (2501) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:54AM (#97039) Journal

    That's why you should smoke, it cuts your life short, but those last years are going to suck anyway.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:12AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:12AM (#97047)

      That's why you should smoke, it cuts your life short, but those last years are going to suck anyway.

      People that smoke and have similar bad choices can live to 65 or 70 too. But the last 10 or 15 or 20 years is hooked up to oxygen bottles/concentrators because of emphysema and similar debilitating illnesses. You see, people that take care of their bodies may not live longer than people that don't, but they generally avoid the long and painful period of decline. For them, they live their life until their life falls off the cliff.

      Well, actually, they do live longer and better. For example, cyclists that actually cycle (like road cycling at 90+% maxHR regularly) tend to live 7-9 hears longer than people that live sedentary life styles, but otherwise the same diet, weight, etc.. Probably similar for other endurance sports. So, they live longer *and* better.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by EvilJim on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:17AM

        by EvilJim (2501) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:17AM (#97048) Journal

        This is why I love geeks... put out a terrible joke and they come explain it until it's no longer funny.
        I'm sure I saw something that said cyclists who thrash themselves like that die early than people who exercise moderately. but then again it was on the interwebs.

        • (Score: 5, Funny) by takyon on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:44AM

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:44AM (#97053) Journal

          You have to go deeper. You have to combine the asthma from smoking with the pleasure of erotic asphyxiation to cap a truly risky, shortened, yet rewarding life.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @09:42AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @09:42AM (#97084)

            You have to go deeper. You have to combine the asthma from smoking with the pleasure of erotic asphyxiation to cap a truly risky, shortened, yet rewarding life.

            I thought we were done talking about Robin Williams?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:03PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:03PM (#97241)

              Who?

          • (Score: 2) by EvilJim on Tuesday September 23 2014, @09:44PM

            by EvilJim (2501) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @09:44PM (#97354) Journal

            +1 insightful :)

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by LoRdTAW on Tuesday September 23 2014, @09:28PM

        by LoRdTAW (3755) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @09:28PM (#97344) Journal

        My grandfather smoked 3 packs a day for close to 30 years. Quit in the 80's and died a week into the year 2000. His doctor spotted something on his lung during a physical and he never said a word to anyone. He finally was diagnosed with lung cancer two years later at age 72 and passed away about 6 months later after he refused treatment. He had difficulty getting around as he weakened but was never in pain or suffering. He lived his last few weeks out in hospice at a VA hospital. He didn't seem to mind dying at all and the normally grumpy and outspoken man became very warm and humble in his last few months. He knew the end was near and chose to die peacefully with dignity.

        My other grandfather was healthy and athletic. The man walked everywhere and rode his bike around town. Never smoked or drank. He suffered a stroke at 60 which left him unable to walk for a year. He later died at 70 from a heart attack in his sleep.

        Not everyone is the same. Not all athletic and healthy people are guaranteed to live better or longer. And not all smokers die a slow painful death.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:55AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:55AM (#97040)

    Sorry, did someone say Americans were obsessed with fitness? One of the countries with the highest obesity problems in the worlds. Perhaps they are obsessed with the idea of fitness, but how many actually are keeping fit?

    I guess its like some people i know. Crazy about their health, pop pills like they are candy, but then stuff their face with fast food, chocolate, etc, and never exercise, all the while suffering more and more health problems, in response to which, they take more pills.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @12:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @12:52PM (#97135)

      See, that's the problem with looking at statistics. You see high rates of obesity and so you conclude that all Americans are fat and sit around watching TV all day.

      People are not the mean statistic for their cohort.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bitshifter on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:02AM

    by bitshifter (2241) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:02AM (#97044)

    This seems a bit romantic. The very definition of life is wanting to continue living.
    We'll see what Mr. Emanuel says when he's 75

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by q.kontinuum on Tuesday September 23 2014, @08:00AM

      by q.kontinuum (532) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @08:00AM (#97068) Journal

      Not necessarily. Life doesn't have an idea in itself, but the consequence of evolution is procreation / continue living as a species, not as an individual. (There are several kinds of animal which die after procreating.)

      --
      Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Magic Oddball on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:14PM

      by Magic Oddball (3847) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:14PM (#97158) Journal

      This exactly. Most able-bodied people have no idea what it's like to have significant disabilities (mobility-impaired, deaf, incontinent, etc.) even if they actually know someone like that, so they conjure up an imaginary reality and base their assumptions about how they'd feel on it. It doesn't seem to matter how many people with the conditions in question speak up, either...

      Then when the person actually reaches that point in life (whether through age, disease, accident, etc.), in most cases they come to realize that they adapted to it just like they had adapted to the drastic changes in interests, energy levels, pleasures, etc. from being a child to an adult. They might even notice that the vast majority of the frustration, depression, or pain isn't inherent to their body, but is related to outside factors, like doctors being unwilling or unable to prescribe adequate pain control, a caregiver or relative that shames them for needing different kinds of help than before, being lonely because they've isolated themselves for various reasons (feeling alienated, like they're a drag, being unable to afford the cost of going out socially, etc.).

      Those perceptive folks often try to speak up and share their revelation, but the current crop of able-bodied folks ignores their attempts to enlighten others, just as he/she ignored the previous generation of disabled/elderly folks.

      FWIW, I was born with defects in my upper GI, lower GI, trachea, lungs, reproductive tract, kidneys, cervical spine, spinal cord canal, and brain (mostly visual & auditory processing, plus pressure from a slight herniation)...so I have a good idea of what I'm talking about. Did (or do, given not much has changed) I look ready to give up on life? [imgbox.com] ;-)

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:40AM

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:40AM (#97051) Journal

    Real anti-aging therapies can't be compared to "exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements". We are living in the dark ages of regenerative medicine. If anti-aging therapies can successfully target the underlying causes of aging, they will necessarily affect quality and quantity of life at the same time.

    Ezekiel is 57. He's advancing in age, but 18 years is a long time. Maybe by 2032 we will have a "New Deal with Death". Some of the stats in the article could be explained by OBESITY (maybe they corrected them for that). Alzheimer's research is progressing well.. it will certainly be an easier disease to cure than cancer. The productivity graph [theatlantic.com] shows that 80-year olds have an unexpectedly high amount of productivity, I'm guessing because of accumulated experience. Sure, if you have a stroke, your productivity is going to plummet to vegetable status. That's why the future of medicine needs to be regenerative and preventative (and less profitable).

    If I make it to 90, I will try to make myself productive in some way. Rather than failing health, we should worry about inequality... if 90-year olds begin to look like 30-year olds, they will be able to outcompete youth by using accumulated experience and wealth to hold on to jobs, remain the gatekeepers of mass media, etc. Assuming the world isn't destroyed or "remodeled" by then.

    A second policy implication relates to biomedical research. We need more research on Alzheimer’s, the growing disabilities of old age, and chronic conditions - not on prolonging the dying process.

    ...

    And I retain the right to change my mind and offer a vigorous and reasoned defense of living as long as possible. That, after all, would mean still being creative after 75.

    This article makes perfect sense for as long as the status quo of declining health due to aging persists. Eventually, maybe in 20-40 years, that will change, and the author will apparently accept the change.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by mmcmonster on Tuesday September 23 2014, @12:22PM

      by mmcmonster (401) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @12:22PM (#97123)

      If I make it to 90, I will try to make myself productive in some way. [...] if 90-year olds begin to look like 30-year olds, they will be able to outcompete youth by using accumulated experience and wealth to hold on to jobs, remain the gatekeepers of mass media, etc.

      If I was 90 and had my accumulated wealth and knowledge, I would retire and live a life of leisure.

      Work is what you do in order to make time for leisure.

      Why would I want to stay in the workforce in my 90s if I don't have to?

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @01:43PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @01:43PM (#97145)

        Why would I want to stay in the workforce in my 90s if I don't have to?

        This is a poor person's question. It turns out that one can get a great deal of personal satisfaction and joy from helping people solve problems, from creating great projects, and building cool stuff. There's camaraderie associated with being part of a team, especially a successful team. Usually, you get paid for those activities. Usually, there's some kind of a business structure created to support those activities. It sounds a lot like work.

        Maybe not "work" as in, you will be at your desk 9am-7pm, six days per week, coding exactly the features your boss describes into a program that his boss designed, but "work" in the sense of activity done for economic gain. Do you think the CEO of any Fortune 500 company actually "has" to work after their first year? Do you think Elon Musk or Mark Cuban "has" to work? Warren Buffett is 84, and he doesn't give any sign of retiring. "Work" is only a burden if you have to do it. For others, it's a reason to get up in the morning.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @01:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @01:53PM (#97149)

        If you have a job you hate, it's work. If you love what you do, you'll do it until the day you die. Which sounds like a better outcome?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @03:36PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @03:36PM (#97191)

        If I was 90 and had my accumulated wealth and knowledge, I would retire and live a life of leisure.

        Seriously. I'm salivating at the thought of how freaking amazing the video games will be in 50-60 years...

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by q.kontinuum on Tuesday September 23 2014, @08:06AM

    by q.kontinuum (532) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @08:06AM (#97070) Journal

    I disagree with the sentiment. I do fitness in order to remain productive, energetic and vibrant for the time I do live, not necessarily to live longer. For me, live is about as many positive things in a lifetime as possible, as little negative as possible, no matter how long or short the life is. I always assumed the same is true for nearly everyone, with different definition of "positive/negative" things. (Note I didn't define if I want to achieve things positive for me or positive for the world, so the concept holds no matter if you are altruistic or selfish.)

    I do agree that it would be a pity to have to go while being fit and energetic. I'd prefer to leave with a feeling of being tired of life anyway.

    --
    Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:26PM (#97163)

      I disagree with the sentiment. I do fitness in order to remain productive, energetic and vibrant for the time I do live, not necessarily to live longer. For me, live is about as many positive things in a lifetime as possible, as little negative as possible, no matter how long or short the life is.

      I think that's exactly the sentiment Emanuel is trying to convey. He wants to be alive as long as there is actual life in those years, but he recognizes the statistics that after age 75, a vast amount of medical care can be provided that keeps the body alive but greatly restricts its capacity for productive, energetic life. He points out that fewer "old" people are independent now than even 15 years ago (42% "functionally limited" in 2006, vs 28% in 1998). Health care is keeping people alive longer, but not making their extended lives any better.

      I've seen this in my older friends/acquaintances. Go in for bypass surgery, or a hip replacement, or whatever, and they never recover from the surgery to the level of strength and activity they had before the procedure. I'm not saying that the procedure didn't help them, or reduce their pain, or make their life more comfortable in significant ways; just that they could not return to their pre-op activity level.

      Old people lose function. There are anecdotes of people who stay active, alert, and "young" to great age. Those anecdotes have been around for 50 years, but actual statistics reveal that our aged population is no healthier today than 20 years ago. Emanuel's point is that you can't make yourself one of the exceptional people by exercising vigorously into your 90s, and that heroic medical efforts to extend your life are likely to leave you with prolonged infirmity. He's saying that he plans to refuse those heroic efforts, and, indeed, many of the treatments that could reduce the morbidity associated with mortality. He favors mortality over morbidity

      You do whatever you want; it's his plan. I think it's a good plan. Something like 25% of lifetime medical costs are accumulated in the last 30 days of life. That is: heroic efforts, doomed to failure, applied to individuals who may not even be aware of them. If you ask me whether I would rather spend $100,000 forcing oxygen in and out of my unconscious body for 30 days or pass it on for grandkids' college, I don't have to think about it for even a second.

      • (Score: 2) by q.kontinuum on Tuesday September 23 2014, @03:28PM

        by q.kontinuum (532) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @03:28PM (#97187) Journal

        From TFA:

        [...] Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. "I reject this aspiration.[...]

        This sounds to me like he considers efforts to keep yourself in good shape as an attempt to prolong your life instead of accepting it as a way to improve health for the lifetime you have.

        --
        Registered IRC nick on chat.soylentnews.org: qkontinuum
        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @04:18PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @04:18PM (#97206)

          That's his "American immortality," keeping an 80-year-old body performing like a 60-year-old. The whole manifesto is based on the thesis that medicine has increased the quantity of life without any meaningful change in quality of life. From TFA:

          More important, Crimmins found that between 1998 and 2006, the loss of functional mobility in the elderly increased. In 1998, about 28 percent of American men 80 and older had a functional limitation; by 2006, that figure was nearly 42 percent.

          You can keep the body alive longer, but exercise and mental puzzles don't actually keep you any healthier into old age. I suspect he would differentiate between behaviors that actively improve your health and passive avoidance of those that harm your health (ie: regular, vigorous exercise: immortality; not eating yourself to obesity or diabetes: common sense)

          If you google "How to live to 100," you'll get all kinds of low calorie, vigorous exercise, anti-oxidant advice from people in their 30s-50s. If you ask people over 100, they'll say things like "A glass of red wine every day" and "A plate of bacon every day." If you ask people who study centenarians, they'll say "Community involvement" and "good attitude." It's striking, to me, the difference between people telling you how to become immortal, and people who have actually made it. Maybe the most telling thing is that those centenarians don't seem to mind that they can't walk as fast as their grandkids, can't balance a bicycle, or remember the password to their Yahoo! (much less recognize when everyone else has left Yahoo for facebook or twitter), all of which seem very important to Dr. Emanuel.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday September 23 2014, @08:48AM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @08:48AM (#97072) Journal

    > "It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world.

    So once we are no longer financially productive we should all be sent to the glue factory? There's more to life than working and contributing to the economy. Perhaps after a lifetime's graft we should be allowed a bit of a rest instead of the euphemistic "retirement" this clot has in mind. Maybe there is more to contributing to society than he thinks - my parents are in their seventies and rapidly approaching TFA's euthanasia date. They are active and definitely not losing their creativity. They might not be employed any more but they provide untold benefits to their grandchildren just by spending time with them. They are central to the family and the community. The value they continue to provide is immeasurable, but also completely besides the point: A person doesn't need to justify their existence with "productivity". Most sensible cultures believe in a right to life, although I know that there are an increasing number of people who can only see value in things that have a price tag on them.

    Fuck you Ezekiel J Emmanuel, fuck you, fuck your evil ageist agenda and fuck your stupid ridiculous name.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @01:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @01:10PM (#97138)

      So once we are no longer financially productive we should all be sent to the glue factory?

      On a site called soylent that is quite funny in a nicely ironic way... :)

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Blackmoore on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:31PM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:31PM (#97169) Journal
      SO his personal decision to not live past an age bothers you?

      the decision to come to an end on your own terms should be far more sacred than your insult to life itself - (by attempting to live forever)

      I am watching my 80 year old father waste away in long term care. he has NO QUALITY to his life; he can not lift himself or get around without assistance. Food no longer has taste. he has no span of attention as Alzheimer and dementia set in.   perhaps you should have to stare that in the face and then tell us how active and creative EVERYONE over 80 is.

      I have no interest in dictating the end to any individual based on a set period of time. But we ought to respect an individuals choice to place an end date on their own existence.
      • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:58PM

        by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:58PM (#97181) Journal

        No, what bothers me is his assertion that people past the age of 75 are useless.

        Also, I don't recall using the word "EVERYONE" in my post.

        I'm sorry about the situation with your father. I have family with Alzheimers / dementia myself, I think it's probably the cruellest disease out there. Hopefully medicine will send it the way of smallpox very soon.

    • (Score: 2) by digitalaudiorock on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:41PM

      by digitalaudiorock (688) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:41PM (#97175)

      Fuck you Ezekiel J Emmanuel, fuck you, fuck your evil ageist agenda and fuck your stupid ridiculous name.

      I couldn't agree more..(see my rant below). What especially irks me about this is the way it encourages peoples tendency to give up taking care of themselves because "you're just going to die anyway" and all that BS...the very mindset that causes people to end up old and fragile when they could have been old and vital. This guy's an asshole.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:41PM (#97176)

      "Contributing to society" and "Financially productive" are not the same thing, by any stretch. You can contribute to society by mentoring, volunteering, even watching the grandkids when they get home from school. You can contribute to society by telling stories of the good old days and reminding the young 'uns of their place in history. You don't contribute to society by lying in a hospital bed tethered to an oxygen tank, sleeping 22 hours a day.

      He's not calling for forced euthanasia, and claims to have campaigned against assisted suicide. He's not calling for public policy changes. He's saying he's looked at the statistics and decided that, for himself, the benefits of medical care past age 75 do not seem to justify their cost.

      • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday September 23 2014, @03:04PM

        by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @03:04PM (#97182) Journal

        "Contributing to society" and "Financially productive" are not the same thing, by any stretch. You can contribute to society by mentoring, volunteering, even watching the grandkids when they get home from school. You can contribute to society by telling stories of the good old days and reminding the young 'uns of their place in history. You don't contribute to society by lying in a hospital bed tethered to an oxygen tank, sleeping 22 hours a day.

        Is this an attempt to disagree with me? You've pretty much just reworded half of my post...

        He's not calling for forced euthanasia,

        No, he's just saying that people past 75 are sad and feeble and pitiable and a drain on society.

        • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Tuesday September 23 2014, @04:27PM

          by Blackmoore (57) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @04:27PM (#97215) Journal

          He's probably unfamiliar with the rare cases of extraordinary people who are still healthy at 75 and beyond, it isn't like the world has a lot of them.

          He's probably more familiar with the elderly you will find in a long term care facility; and didnt bother to ask questions about age - and that would be a HIPPA violation anyway.
          LTC will take anyone who requires that kind of care (and can pay them)

          If he wants to go out at 75 that should be his own right. it isnt like anyone is getting mandated extermination.

          • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:12PM

            by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:12PM (#97246) Journal

            > extraordinary people who are still healthy at 75 and beyond, it isn't like the world has a lot of them.

            WHAT?!?!?!?! If somebody isn't healthy at 75 then they haven't been taking care of themselves at all. I know of very few over-75s whose quality of life is so poor that they don't think life is worth living. Modern medicine means that most people in the 1st world keep on pottering along very well into their 70s, 80s or beyond, experiencing gradual and totally manageable deterioration, until something big comes along (cancer, heart attack, a nasty fall, antibiotic-resistant infection from the hospital) and from there it's usually a rapid slide down into death. Exceptions include dementia/ alzheimers and long battles with cancer, which can really screw with your quality of life for years and years.

            I assure you the world has many, many active and healthy 75+ year olds. (Admittedly, a lot less of them in undeveloped countries.)

            • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:15PM

              by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:15PM (#97248) Journal

              > If somebody isn't healthy at 75 then they haven't been taking care of themselves at all.

              Or they are quite unlucky. Should have added that earlier, sorry. You can take great care of yourself and still fall foul of some nasty disease or accident.

            • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:40PM

              by Blackmoore (57) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:40PM (#97261) Journal

              And I spend time with my Dad in one of many many LTC facilities who are crowded with people of 65 and up. I also spend time with a friend who is dealing with lots of other age related issues (at age 70+) and lives in an elder community (full of other old, but otherwise able) and since i never SEE them it doesnt make as big of a difference in my opinion.

              What we need to take out of the original article is that people should think about when and under what conditions that want to go out on. Specifying a specific age is foolish; if quality to life is still there. You ought to be making those decisions for yourself - before you are incapable of communicating it.

            • (Score: 2) by digitalaudiorock on Tuesday September 23 2014, @07:23PM

              by digitalaudiorock (688) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @07:23PM (#97309)

              I assure you the world has many, many active and healthy 75+ year olds. (Admittedly, a lot less of them in undeveloped countries.)

              Interestingly, in some underdeveloped countries there are a lot of very active elderly, in part because of the increased amount of physical labor. For example, in third world countries where women do things like carrying heavy buckets of water, Osteoporosis is all but unheard of.

              I totally agree with your assessment of this guy. His "advise" is borderline criminal. It seems as though he's trying to make some flawed statistical case that things like exercise don't help you live better. Insane.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24 2014, @11:19AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24 2014, @11:19AM (#97578)

                Interestingly, in some underdeveloped countries there are a lot of very active elderly, in part because of the increased amount of physical labor.

                You're only looking at the people who survive, and who survive largely on the strength of their genetics and activity. People who can't keep up with the physical demands of a difficult life just die. Emanuel is claiming that modern medicine keeps people alive who would otherwise die "of old age," and that those people are less healthy, less mobile, and less active than people who naturally survive.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:04PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:04PM (#97242)

          "Contributing to society" and "Financially productive" are not the same thing, by any stretch.

          Is this an attempt to disagree with me? You've pretty much just reworded half of my post...

          Not so much to disagree, as to point out that you've mis-stated TFA's argument. Your paraphrasing replaces every instance of "contribute to society" with "contribute economically," thus turning what was an argument about one's participation in society into a discussion of their financial value. Having created in your own head this 'economic contribution' argument, you proceed to demolish it by claiming that there are great ways to contribute to society without economic impact. Good for you, you beat up the strawman!

          No, he's just saying that people past 75 are sad and feeble and pitiable and a drain on society.

          You must be a very angry, defensive person to get that from TFA. He states some facts: older people are less healthy; older people have more mobility problems; older people perform less well on cognitive tests. He says that the age discrepancy has gotten worse as lifespans have increased. He admits that many people are, in fact, quite happy to have more years, even if they are lower quality years. Good for them: let them all live to 110.

          What's your problem with a guy wanting to refuse medical care after age 75? Would you be satisfied to require all of us to undergo annual physicals, or would you also demand that we have a battery of cancer and chronic illness screenings? Chemotherapy? Liver transplants? What gives you the right to force medical care on people who don't want it? So, fuck you "GreatAuntAnesthesia," fuck you, your Christian agenda, your ridiculous nick, and your terrible reading comprehension.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @04:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @04:45PM (#97224)

      This was the attitude in Nazi Germany during World War 2. Basically if you were NOT a 'blonde haired, blue eyed' German you were either 'put to work' (enslaved basically) or systematically exterminated en masse as undesireables. This was CHILLINGLY demonstrated in a scene from Steven Spielberg's SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993) when the old, one-armed guy tried to shovel snow and the Nazi officer (Amon Goeth? [Ralph Fiennes]) took him off to the side and SHOT HIM IN THE HEAD! We see the snow underneath his head turn red with his violently shed blood--the camera tracks it as it oozes through the snow as his corpse bleeds out while there is a voice over (Oskar Schindler? [Liam Neeson]).

      I said all of that to say this: Life on Planet Earth may come to the point where you either 'kick value upstairs' to justify your continued existence or YOU DIE!...

      This is what will happen to you if you are unable to "...contribute to work, society, the world. " as Ezekiel J. Emmanuel said....

  • (Score: 2) by mmcmonster on Tuesday September 23 2014, @09:44AM

    by mmcmonster (401) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @09:44AM (#97085)

    Brave words for someone obviously not in their 70s.

    There's a reason people in their 70s don't make that statement. It's either because they're too enfeebled to speak or their too busy for nonsense like that.

    I have plenty of 70+ year olds wear I work. It's actually pretty easy to separate them out, since their often the ones getting things done when the younger people are arguing and politicking.

    My dad's in his 70s and still works full time. He gave his boss 1 year's notice in January and they still haven't found a replacement for him.

    70 is the new 50.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @10:19AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @10:19AM (#97091)

      Maybe you should ask them how to spell.

      • (Score: 2) by Zinho on Tuesday September 23 2014, @11:19AM

        by Zinho (759) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @11:19AM (#97103)

        Maybe you should ask them how to spell.

        I don't see any spelling errors in mmcmonster's post, and between two computerized spellcheckers only the word "olds" was flagged (and only by one of the programs).

        Perhaps mmcmonster's father should give you some lessons?

        --
        "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @12:31PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @12:31PM (#97125)

          they're as not hinge rung wit mmcmonster's past.

          perhaps you should learn english instead of depending entirely on "two computerized spellcheckers". you, sir, should be embarrassed.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24 2014, @08:59PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 24 2014, @08:59PM (#97895)

          Allow me to introduce what may be a new concept to you: Homophone [wikipedia.org]

          wear I work
          wear: to have on your body (as clothing)
          where: in what place
          ware: a good to be sold

          since their often the ones
          This one is also triple-tricky:
          there: in that place
          they're: they are
          their: belongs to them
          It is interesting because he had previously used "they're" correctly.

          -- gewg_

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @11:16AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @11:16AM (#97102)

    At least this time they'll wait until you're 75 before the sandman comes after you.

    BTW Dr. Emanuel is the brother of Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago and Obama's ex-Chief of Staff. My hunch is that the brothers "agree to disagree" on the topic when the families get together over the holidays.

  • (Score: 2) by tonyPick on Tuesday September 23 2014, @11:24AM

    by tonyPick (1237) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @11:24AM (#97107) Homepage Journal

    About getting to my 50's. Then I got to 40. Suddenly that isn't so far away, and 50 looks like it'll be just another birthday with maybe a slightly bigger hangover.

    Now I sort of could think it about 75, but I might change my mind if I get to my mid-60's...

    > this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive
    Manic is a strong term for spending a couple of pounds/dollars every few months, exercising and eating well. I'd call those fairly low investment and/or fun things as reasonable steps to take in the interests of not-being-dead any earlier than I have to be...

  • (Score: 2) by digitalaudiorock on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:27PM

    by digitalaudiorock (688) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @02:27PM (#97165)

    Where to even start. This is the very sort of argument / excuse that people use because they don't want to take care of themselves, especially when it comes to things like exercise.

    My grandfather was talking martial arts classes at 75. He probably would have lived to 100 and been quite vital except for a very unlucky melanoma, which killed him very quickly.

    Everyone loves to delude themselves into this, "I'll just do what I want and, so what, I'll just die a little sooner" bullshit...as if the "switch" is just going to get flicked a little earlier. News flash...it does NOT work that way, and instead can mean spending the last decades of your life, which could have been enjoyable in complete and utter misery. Good luck with all that. I don't care what this guy's position is, he's just being ignorant in the same way.

    As someone who has managed to end up at age 61 feeling arguably better than I did in my 20s when I was smoking and such, this sort of shit really hits a nerve. This guy is a fucking idiot.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 23 2014, @05:50PM (#97268)

      Everyone loves to delude themselves into this, "I'll just do what I want and, so what, I'll just die a little sooner" bullshit...as if the "switch" is just going to get flicked a little earlier. News flash...it does NOT work that way, and instead can mean spending the last decades of your life, which could have been enjoyable in complete and utter misery. Good luck with all that. I don't care what this guy's position is, he's just being ignorant in the same way

      I think you misunderstand. He's looked at the epidemiology and come to the conclusion that old-old people today, when they're being encouraged to participate in all of these health and mind improving activities, are actually less healthy than they were 20 years ago. Essentially, medicine is keeping people alive who would otherwise have died, and as a consequence, the population of old people is even more frail and more dependent on continuing care. He is asserting that zealous exercise and diet don't really improve things, but I think he would distinguish between zealous exercise (not helpful) and sedentary, gluttonous lifestyle (actively harmful). But I think he argument is less about exercise and diet, and more about medical intervention. TFS picked out the exercise, diet, and pills bit, but I think that's just inflammatory. I think his point is more that people are dramatically changed by a major intervention (bypass surgery, chemotherapy, joint replacement) both physically and mentally, such that they never recover their pre-intervention activity. TFA doesn't say he's giving up exercise (the dude just climbed Kilimanjaro, for gods' sake), but that he's giving up medical interventions. He's basically saying that your body is built to last (whether you can influence that with diet & exercise or not), and that dramatic, end-of-life interventions can add years to that time, but they are not years that he wants. He doesn't want to live forever, if forever is going to suck.

      • (Score: 2) by digitalaudiorock on Tuesday September 23 2014, @07:09PM

        by digitalaudiorock (688) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @07:09PM (#97302)

        I just don't read it that way at all. Here's an exact quote:

        Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. This has become so pervasive that it now defines a cultural type: what I call the American immortal.

        I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop.

        All the things he's blasting there are in fact good, especially exercise...for both longevity (possibly) and certainly for quality of life. I can't imagine how you're reading that. He's sure not talking about medical intervention there, heroic or otherwise, and what he's saying is frankly inexcusable.

  • (Score: 2) by mendax on Tuesday September 23 2014, @03:39PM

    by mendax (2840) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @03:39PM (#97193)

    I think the touchstone on this subject for me is the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Half a Life". For those who don't know the series, read the summary here [memory-alpha.org]. But in my own life, I am facing this kind of situation myself.

    My mom keeps a suicide kit of drugs that she can take which will kill her most effectively. Her greatest fear is being confined to a nursing home because her health will not allow her to live at home any longer. She'll live with deteriorating health so long as she can still do the things in her life that make it worth living. But once that threshold has been reached, she's ready for the end.

    My mom is in her late 70's and doing pretty well given the pharmacy of drugs she's taking, but her health has been getting better recently due to losing weight which allowed her to get off some of the drugs. But I'd be the first person to give her the stash of pills (if I knew where they were) if she asked me. At her age, I think she's earned the right to say when enough is enough.

    Now my dad, who is 80, is a different story. He has lived a life of humility and is usually optimistic and positive in his outlook for life. He will look for the positives in any situation. While this outlook on life is terrific and it makes him content with life, in the end it only increases the suffering that he will eventually have to endure. I admire the Buddhist qualities in him that have allowed him to come to some state of Enlightenment, allowing him overcome much of the suffering that life brings, but how much suffering is too much? There are some wonderful stories about the Buddha when he was the same age. He knew his body was failing him and he was close to death. He accepted it and died.

    In short, a person ought to be able to die when he's ready to die, when he or she is able to consciously and rationally make the decision, when the quality of life is outweighed by its suffering.

    --
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
    • (Score: 1) by tftp on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:14PM

      by tftp (806) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @06:14PM (#97280) Homepage

      a suicide kit of drugs

      This would be a good thread to publish the contents of this kit.

      • (Score: 2) by mendax on Tuesday September 23 2014, @08:58PM

        by mendax (2840) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @08:58PM (#97336)

        She won't tell me what it is or where. But I suspect it's probably a bottle of morphine tablets. That's how I would do it if I were in her shoes. I'd be unconscious before I suffocate.

        --
        It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
  • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Tuesday September 23 2014, @07:58PM

    by JeanCroix (573) on Tuesday September 23 2014, @07:58PM (#97324)

    I hope I die before I get old

    Although given Roger and Pete's current ages, it doesn't seem they actually meant it.