Is old age a battle or a massacre?


A very poignant post by Dr Sam

Medicine at the Deep End

“Old age isn’t a battle, old age is a massacre!” Philip Roth

Philip Roth’s words are confronting. To continue the metaphor, avoiding the battle is of interest to many and has led the growing acceptance of voluntary euthanasia. Most of us will have long lives and unless we have a heart attack or an aggressive cancer, with the aid of modern medicine, will probably die slowly. Unfortunately, anticipating the impending doom and deciding what to do about it requires retention of our mental faculties and the period leading up to death often strips us of these. Losing our memory often moves us into residential aged care, the frequent site of the massacre.

There is now a Royal Commission into Aged Care, Quality and Safety. It is actually a royal commission into us, our values, and concerns each of us intimately. What is to become of our lives? The commission will…

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