I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I am not obese. I am very active. I walk, I hike and I ride my bicycle enough miles in one year that I could pedal from New York City to Los Angeles (2,790 miles) and back. I try to watch what I eat though I do enjoy the occasional Waffle House All-star breakfast, a quarter-pounder with cheese and yes fries and Oreo’s. So who do I have to thank for these afflictions? Well I have to start with Mom and Dad because they are the last ones standing, but I know it goes back generations.
I try to watch the NBC evening news every night because I am a news junkie. I don’t know when it started or how long it has been going on but all of the commercials that run during the news are for drug companies and I do mean all.
I realize that having high blood pressure and high cholesterol is pretty mundane compared to oh say erectile dysfunction but I am pretty confident, though I don’t have any scientific proof, erectile dysfunction won’t kill you. I know high blood pressure will.
There are important drugs out there that solve important issues, issues that threaten our lives. I am not dishing on those afflicted with erectile dysfunction I am sure it is a very personal and psychological concern. But at some point, even for drugs that correct really bad things, we have to ask ourselves when is enough, enough.
Currently, in the real estate development business, the two most active development categories are Storage and Senior Care. Think about it, one is being built to store all the shit we can’t fit in our house or apartment and the second is being built to store our elderly. We are living longer and honestly, if the truth be told, living too long. Our brains and bodies weren’t built for all these years. Yes, occasionally some freak of nature comes along who looks like he can still kick your ass at 92, but that is the exception rather than the rule.
Prolonging life with magic pills at some point is no longer life. I really struggle with this as I watch a friend deal with her mother’s Alzheimer’s. The cost, both personal and monetary, is astronomical. Please understand, I am not advocating ending the lives of terminally ill people. But my friends Mother is not going to get better, as a matter of fact it will be a slow, slow grind over the coming months or years, tough to watch and even tougher to pay for.
There has to be a balance but what that balance is I don’t know. Here is what I do know, people 65+ represented 14.5% of the population in the year 2014 but are expected to grow to be 21.7% of the population by 2040 (I will be 79). We can’t keep building more storage facilities. We have to come-up with a better solution, a better choice, a better life for those nearing the end of theirs and a better option for the people that love them.
“We do as much harm holding onto programs and people past their natural life span as we do when we employ massive organizational air strikes. However, destroying comes at the end of life’s cycle, not as a first response.” – Margaret J Wheatley