There’s a change underway. A massive change. It’s a change in how the rest of the world sees you now. Anyone over the age of 65 feels it. You’re doomed, really. Without even realizing it, you’ve now been categorized as ‘expendable’.
As the coronavirus spread throughout the world, medical teams had to make a gruesome decision. Do we save the younger patients by allowing the older patients to die? Unfortunately (at least to those over the age of 65) the answer was unanimously ‘yes’. If you were sadly living in a nursing home, retirement center or in an assisted living situation, you really didn’t have much of a chance of survival. Bodies of dead older people were stacking up worldwide.
What’s a senior person to do?
You need to first make yourself as healthy as ever. You also need to make yourself financially independent. And you should never reside in any adult 55+ community. To do so would make yourself a sitting target. If you can’t live independently free, due to medical conditions, then you’re going to have to make amends with a trusted family relation and live with them till you die of your own natural causes. Not by some government decree.
Gone are the retirement images of endless golf games, lazing in some adirondack-styled chair on some Caribbean deserted beach or sailing on some yacht or taking a cruise. Those dreams are gone for now. You, as an older person, must now contend with keeping yourself alive and free from any health danger.
Here’s your future:
As COVID-19 spreads rapidly through the United States, many American doctors will be making the decisions that overwhelmed health care workers in Italy: Which patients get lifesaving treatment, and which ones do not?
Every accredited hospital in the U.S. is required to have some mechanism for addressing ethical issues like this — hospital triage committees create guidelines for prioritizing patient care if there’s a resource shortage.
As the number of coronavirus cases rises in the U.S., hospitals have a new urgency in revisiting and updating those guidelines.
They vary from hospital to hospital, but their overall goal is usually to save the most lives, based on: age, life expectancy, how severe a patient’s illness is, how likely treatment is to help and whether a patient has additional illnesses that could shorten the person’s life span, such as cancer or heart disease.
In early March, as the coronavirus outbreak worsened in Italy, an Italian medical association issued guidelines finding that doctors might have to prioritize younger COVID-19 patients over older ones. “It may be necessary to place an age limit” on access to intensive care, the guidelines advised, with the goal of preserving limited health care resources for patients more likely to survive.
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This blog is about the brave new world that faces most people over the age of 60. Your world has just changed. And you either change with the world or find yourself vulnerable and left behind. Literally.