How Old is Too Old?

This semester I have a course on Business Ethics. Last class, we discussed the growing demographic of old people because of the advancing technology nowadays to keep them alive. I am not religious so I am not going to get into the discussion of messing up with “God’s plan”. In class we watched a documentary on Frontline about the growing demographic of old people and how they are just waiting for their final day in nursing homes, or being cared for by family who have had to sacrifice their own lives to keep them alive.

I was then left with the assignment to answer the question,

What would I do with my parents when they are old, and what would I want for myself?”

This Christmas, my grandma passed away at the age of 91. She had been in a vegetative state for at least 8 years before she died. She was living with grandpa in their own apartment back in China, with their own maid. Dad’s sister lived not too far away. Before her death, grandpa had been healthy except for some small heart problems. But since grandma’s funeral, he has not been doing that well. He is 92 this year. Dad only recently came back after a month of taking care of him. He already used up a year worth of vacation days and it’s only the beginning of the year. My dad is the only one that works in my family. Grandpa’s still in the hospital, and is currently developing some dementia, but when there is family near him he is a completely different person.

To go back to the question, I have my own opinions about it now, but given the circumstances I think things may change. For my parents, I would want to provide them with the best care possible, but not necessarily from myself. It is not because I would not know how to care for them, but because I want to be able to live own life as full as possible, and I would want the same for my own children. I know it may sound a little greedy and conceited but my parents are 30 years older than me so senior age is not that far away. In 10 years, they will be seniors and I will have only begun establishing my life and family. I would hope that I make enough money to provide them with the best care possible if they need it, and that they remain close to either my sister or me, in their own home. I am opposed of nursing homes because they seem so depressing. Almost always, family is what keeps you living. Without question, I would never pull them off support or anything like that. When push comes to shove they are still your parents and people you love and you want them to live forever.

I’d love to hear all your opinions on the subject, even if you want to disagree with me.

One thought on “How Old is Too Old?

  1. …the respect for life concerning the old is hypocritical in the extreme when a leading
    world country makes business of war, killing its young and the young of target nations.
    children who have yet to live. this heinous state of affairs even overshadows the right
    to life abortion battles fought by both guilty partys. there is no balm to it.
    as to the old, new england townships in early days, sometimes let the old wander off
    into the woods rather than have another mouth to feed in winter, similar to the buddhist custom of giving one’s own meat back to the animals for having taken it
    during one’s lifetime. i’d like to see aging carnivores do that, also big game hunters.
    at the moment i have a dog who is aging, is blind, pees on the rug, stands about,
    eats, and doesn’t seem rational but must be if she eats, ha ha. yet this pm i surprised
    her on the lawn in front of my room running around and looking for the birds she
    is crazy about even though she can’t see them. i had long stopped walking her but
    she has found a way to have a romp and exercise, so despite her problems she stays
    with us. my mom is 93 but of good wood, in her 5 senses, she likes to keep busy
    because when one thinks about the insistent subtraction of old age, work is all that’s
    left. i am her legs and reach and errand boy. when the time comes and she needs
    really intensive care, there is hospice, but i prefer to keep her in her own home with
    our long time maid and the gardner.
    the hospice alternative is the best, if one is ready to say no to the ghoulish techniques medicine has developed to keep one alive for no curative reason.
    as to dementia, going squashy, i don’t know what to say except that once
    the brain is out of the picture, the patient seems more robust.

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