NOT READY TO DIE AT 75!!!
Based on the number of comments I received on that post, you might well remember the piece I did about a week ago on Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. If not, you can find it here. In a nutshell, Ezekiel believes that we should all be prepared to die at 75. Not by hari kari, but by refusing any treatments or medicines designed to prolong life. Why? Because people beyond that age are not very productive anyway AND because they consume unconscionable amounts of scarce healthcare resources.
Frankly, a lot of my readers thought that this perspective was just plain nuts. BUT. One of my readers went a step further. My dear friend, Dr. Glenna Crooks, herself a prolific author, directed me to an antidote for Emanuel’s thinking. Check this out. What you see here is a book that you will discover, if you take the time to download and read the free introduction, tells us how to turn the aging clock so that it runs counterclockwise. We need to be mindful, engaged, hopeful, watchful, responsible. Simply putting a nursing home patient in charge of taking care of a houseplant can improve her wellbeing. We need to understand that there is a definitive mind-body linkage, and that thinking good thoughts can do good things for the body. That what achievement is possible is a more appropriate focus than what decline is inevitable. Dr. Ellen Langer, it should be noted, is not a do-gooder amateur, but rather a credentialed Harvard Psychology professor who has conducted decades worth of fascinating and profound research on this topic.
Bottom Line. What scared many of my readers was the fact that Dr. Emanuel has been, and might be again, actively involved in healthcare policy making in the U.S. I’m with them. Scares the heck out of me as well. Hopefully, if he gets involved in that activity again, he can keep his personal willingness to die at 75 out of his policy making decisions.
AND. Hopefully, the positive vibes expressed in Dr. Langer’s work can be increasingly factored into healthcare decision making and policy setting!