Life Expectancy Of An Average American

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• This preference drives his relatives and friends crazy. To convince him, they enumerate the myriad people he knows who are over 75 and doing quite well. • His position: Doubtless, death is a loss and living too long is also a loss. • He thinks by the time he reaches 75, he will have lived a complete life. he will has loved and been loved. his children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. • He is neither asking for more time than is likely nor foreshortening his life. • He thinks for many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop. • Americans may live longer than their parents, but they are likely to be more incapacitated. • First reason: demography. Since the mid-19th century, Americans have been living longer. In 1900, the life expectancy of an average American at birth was approximately 47 years. Today, a newborn can expect to live about 79 years. • In the early part of the 20th century, life expectancy increased as vaccines, antibiotics, and better medical care saved more children from premature death and effectively treated infections. Once cured, people who had been sick largely returned to their normal, healthy lives without residual disabilities. • Compression of morbidity is an American idea. It tells us exactly what we want to believe: that we will live longer lives and then die with hardly any aches, pains, or physical deterioration. • As life has gotten longer, has it gotten healthier? Is 70 the new 50? • Compared with 50 years ago, seniors today are less disabled and more mobile. But over recent decades, increases in longevity seem to have been accompanied by increases in disability. • For instance, using data from the National Health Interview Survey, Eileen Crimmins, a researcher at the Un... ... middle of paper ... ...r treatment, no matter how routine and painless. And that good reason is not “It will prolong your life.” He will stop getting any regular preventive tests, screenings, or interventions. he will accept only palliative—not curative—treatments if he is suffering pain or other disability. • After 75, if he develops cancer, he will refuse treatment. Similarly, no cardiac stress test. • We avoid constantly thinking about the purpose of our lives and the mark we will leave. Is making money, chasing the dream, all worth it? • He is trying to delineate his views for a good life and make his friends and others think about how they want to live as they grow older. He wants them to think of an alternative to succumbing to that slow constriction of activities and aspirations imperceptibly imposed by aging. Are they to embrace the “American immortal” or his “75 and no more” view?

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