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Discussion Forum : News and Current Events : Put the elderly on ice?

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ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7497
Mississippi

 Put the elderly on ice?

Check this out:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/04/opinion/etzioni-elderly/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn#


I find it scary that a gov official may eventually decide who will get medical care and who does not - this should be left to the individual and family to decide.

The idea of putting an old person on ice floe is uncalled for...

They are right about one thing: you cannot prevent death and a lot of medical treatment only prolongs the dying process and it is not pleasant to anyone, the family nor the victim.

Modern advancements in medicine has imposed tough questions upon us, decision we would rather not have to make. Read and see what people are thinking. Ignoring it will not make it go away. It will come to the fore more and more as we baby boomers age and tax the medicare system. Who is going to pay for expensive treatment when there is no hope is a cure? This is just the first question - there are more...

EDIT: I see a day coming when Christians will once again have to depend on divine healing for restoration to health...and perhaps that would not be bad?

Tough questions, I know...


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Sandra Miller

 2011/11/4 11:45Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4529


 Re: Put the elderly on ice?

Hi ginnyrose,

I think that this is a difficult topic to understand. The current medical-assistance system was not designed for people to live into their 90s (or longer).

However, a doctor is under a rule to "do no harm" and the third line of the modern Hippocratic Oath states, "I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism." So, a doctor should help anyone who needs the help.

Then again, the cost of such care is enormous. During the Obamacare debates two years ago, people argued about "death panels." While it was dismissed by the media and even those who were pushing the legislation, the truth is much more perplexing. For such a system to exist -- the government would have to implement a system of "importance" in regard to which individuals are most needy vs. those who have the better chance at a long outcome.

So, what happens when the elderly are in need? After all, the elderly (by their physical conditions) just happen to be the most "in need" than others. And, of course, "baby boomers" began reaching 65 years of life last year. If Obamacare is not repealed (or redesigned), there will be an extraordinary set of choices that will be imposed upon doctors regarding the elderly. Otherwise, the cost of treating them will be enormous.

One problem associated with this topic is that the term "elderly" is subjective. I happen to come from a family that lives long and healthy lives. My great grandmother lived to 101. Her mother lived to 109. Her mother lived to 108. In addition, they were all very healthy up until the very end. They didn't require the assistance of wheel chairs, nurses, or any other special equipment.

Of course, that doesn't mean that I am guaranteed to live such a long and healthy life. After all, we aren't even promised tomorrow. Still, more and more people are pushing the limits of age and health. This raises the question of medical ethics. Is it wrong to perform an expensive surgery on a 105 year old woman that might not even prolong her life but for weeks or months?

In the "old days," surgeries were paid for by individuals and not governments (or insurance companies). If someone couldn't afford a surgery, they either had to face life without it -- or come up with the income for it. I have read stories of individuals where the FAMILY had to come up with the money to pay for a surgery for mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather or a sibling. Today, many people literally think that it is the government's responsibility.

In one of my graduate public policy classes, we were posed with a question about social responsibility. Our professor polled the class and the majority of students said that the responsibility for caring for elderly parents should lay with the STATE and not the children. In fact, I was one of only three students who voted the other way around.

I was surprised. However, the rationale used to guide their vote was motivated by selfishness. The other students said that elderly parents would just be too difficult and time-consuming for them to assist.

Now, the question was not about parents who need constant hospital care. The question was simply about caring for elderly parents who might not have the money to survive.

The selfish response reminded me of the selfish rationale for most abortions committed in the United States. It isn't about life or death, children from rape or anything like it. It was that the mothers didn't want the social and fiscal responsibility for children that result from sex.

My parents are still in their 50s. However, my wife's parents are in their 60s. Her parents weren't able to have children for the first 12 years of their marriage. Then, they couldn't seem to stop. :-) My wife has nine siblings in her family. As a result, her parents gave birth to several children while in their 40s. Now, they are in their 60s. They are very healthy, but the notion of how to care for them has entered our conversations from time-to-time.

I have made it clear to my wife that her parents are WELCOME to live with us if the need ever presented itself. She has acquiesced in regard to any need for caring for my parents too. I think that this is moral and even spiritual prerogative. If my wife's parents needed a surgery that wasn't covered for them, we would sell our belongings to make it happen (if need be). After all, I believe that any child who wouldn't try the same is close to fitting the description of "worse than an infidel" (I Timothy 5:8).

When I was a freshman in college, one of my professors showed a movie about this topic in a class meant to provoke a discussion in "critical thinking." The movie was entitled "GATTACA" and it dealt with the dispersion of medical (and even employment) resources by a future "big brother" society to people who are genetically predisposed to ailments. Unfortunately, it seems like this is the direction that society will eventually take. It makes me cringe, and then say with longing, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20).


_________________
Christopher

 2011/11/4 12:53Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7497
Mississippi

 Re:

Chris,

Appreciate your testimony, your thoughtful and informed response.

Are you making preparations to live to be 105 YO? I do not envy you - I thought that with my genetics I could well live to be 90 because of the longevity of my relatives..

I did a search on the web and there I found that the expected life span of people in 1900 was less then 50 yrs. Today it is in the 70s and pushing 80 yrs...

I find it admirable your willingness to care for your in-laws in their old age. Now you may need to get nine younguns to help you when you get old! and to help you care for your in-laws! :-)

ginnyrose


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Sandra Miller

 2011/11/4 15:07Profile
ccchhhrrriiisss
Member



Joined: 2003/11/23
Posts: 4529


 Re:

Hi sister ginnyrose,

Quote:

Are you making preparations to live to be 105 YO? I do not envy you - I thought that with my genetics I could well live to be 90 because of the longevity of my relatives..



Actually, I am doing my best to make spiritual and physical preparations to leave this world at any time. But, prayerfully, I also want to be able to care for my wife if that were to ever happen.

I agree: There are some people who can now live well -- even into their 90s with little health issues (other than preventive techniques).

I have a neighbor who is in his mid-90s. His children are older than my parents. In fact, he even has a grandson who is nearly my parents' age. I enjoy hanging out with him and listening to his life experiences and praying with him whenever he asks.

As a child, he remembered days when there weren't many cars on the roads. As a boy, he saw Babe Ruth play ball at Yankee Stadium. He remembers life during the Great Depression. He was a medic during World War II. He has lived through 17 of the 45 presidents of the United States. He has a sharp mind and walks around (albeit, he says, a "little slower" than when he was younger).

His wife passed away several years ago and he lives alone. His children come and check on him periodically and help get some things done around the house. I often go by and knock on his door just to check on him (or just to see if he needs anything from the store). A few weeks ago, he told me that when he was approaching 50 yrs old, he never thought that it would actually be the middle of his life.

Today, the average lifespan in the United States is approaching 80 yrs old...and it is climbing. Unfortunately, the concessions made to older voters over the past few decades are beginning to become much more costly than ever as the nation's retirees are enjoying benefits for much longer periods of time. This is true of social security benefits as well as Medicare and government pensions (state and federal).

Eventually, something will have to give. It won't be popular either. However, the taxpayers of today and the next few decades cannot afford to give the same benefits as have been given out for years. That reformation will be painful...and perhaps incendiary. When that happens, I have a feeling that many people will begin to start considering the need to look after their own families again.

Then again, the modern young person is less "loyal" to his/her family. Those "family ties" aren't quite as binding as they used to be...and many young people are just selfishly looking out for themselves and their own immediately families -- which are often broken and segmented at alarming rates. Many even growing up obsessed with how "bad" they had it as kids, and assume that they don't owe their parents anything (including love or care).

I am thankful that my wife and I are very close to our families -- our parents, grandparents, siblings and nephews/nieces. When we have children, we hope to instill this same understanding in them.


_________________
Christopher

 2011/11/4 16:26Profile





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