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Forums > Social Discussion > perspectives on ageing and dying

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Mr Majestik
Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear
Member Since: 9th Mar 2004
Total posts: 4693
Posted:So for uni I have to do this irritating as all hell unit called perspectives on ageing and although I think the content is quite good 24% of our assessment is participating in these silly online discussions, only we have to reference everything we say and people only post on there to get grades so no real discussion happens. As a result I thought Id post some thoughts/questions here instead. (Im studying nursing, btw)

If part of nursing is aiding in the prevention of illness, caring for people who become ill, and in terminal cases aiding in a peaceful death, at what point should we accept that life is a terminal illness?

Im fairly sure that were all aware that the older you get the more likely you are to die. So is the provision of healthcare for all, regardless of age, really just an attempt to delay the inevitable? Id say it is. And I guess thats ok, I know I want to live for as long as possible at the moment. but if provision of healthcare is really aimed at the elongation of life, how can we be sure that continually fixing problems is ultimately leading individuals to a peaceful death? Are we, by our desire to live longer, in fact giving ourselves a more uncomfortable death?

My example would be people in nursing homes on more medications than I could say in a breath that are just sitting around asking when they are going to die.

thoughts? opinions? irrelivant rants? juggle i really should think less and juggle more.


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley


Rouge Dragon
Rouge Dragon

Insert Champagne Here
Location: without class distinction
Member Since: 21st Jul 2003
Total posts: 13215
Posted:Nothing specific to say, just my thoughts.

what point should we accept that life is a terminal illness?
From the beginning. In the sense of living life to be happy and the best you can, rather than wasting it.

So is the provision of healthcare for all, regardless of age, really just an attempt to delay the inevitable?
Not necessarily. There's a large amount of making it a better life and without the pain. In terms of myself, my asthma medication makes life much nicer rather than keeping my alive as it's not of a severity to kill me.

how can we be sure that continually fixing problems is ultimately leading individuals to a peaceful death?
Lack of pain. increase in mobility.



uuum, in general, it's about making that life easier and without pain. when my grandmother was dying it was about making her pain-free and alert enough to spend her final days with her family.


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...


Mynci
Mynci

Macaque of all trades
Location: wombling free...
Member Since: 27th Apr 2005
Total posts: 8735
Posted:I think most people are affraid of the unknown and thus death so want to cling to it as long as possible. I understand where you're coming from. I think that slow procession of later life with repeated problems has only 1 real benefit (and the use of the term benefit is very loose) It helps prepare the people close to you for the fact that you are going to die soon.

The issue I suppose is you can't really tell someone you're not going to treat them because they are too old or terminal. the future is probably more along the lines of you will be treated for life as long as you take care of yourself, sensible diet, exercise, not smoking or drinking etc break this creed and service refused why should people and the state work and pay to keep you alive if you yourself are trying to shorten your life?
Everyone dies, the irony being it's illegal to try and take your own life, the one thing you are supposed to have control over.


A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.


hamamelis
hamamelis

nut.
Location: Bouncing off the walls.
Member Since: 5th Jan 2006
Total posts: 756
Posted:Suicide is not illegal (at least, not in the UK- a quick rummage through Google says it is in Singapore)- it used to be, but as of 1961- it is not.

Assisting in one is though.

There is no simple answer to when keeping someone alive with a terminal illness becomes just a pointless exercise- I mean, look at Stephen Hawkins.. For most people in that state, quality of life would be pathetic, and prolonging it would largely be a bit pointless- but he still seems to be getting a bit out of it..

Incidently, personally I reckon if I got a terminal illness- or very old- that's when I *stop* taking care of myself- start smoking, quit exercising, eat junk and drink myself silly, on the grounds there's not a whole lot to lose wink


THE MEEK WILL INHERIT THE EARTH!


If that's okay with you?


Nee
newbie

Member Since: 28th Jul 2008
Total posts: 15
Posted:I agree that by delaying death we sometimes cause ourselves more pain. The first example that comes to mind is when a cancer sufferer does chemo to prolong their life rather than cure the disease. Of course if that's what they want to do, they should be able to do it though I hear it's very painful and your quality of life is greatly reduced.

As far as life being a terminal illness, I don't agree. Life is terminal, but it's not an illness and as long as there IS no illness, I don't see the point in accepting that life such and then not doing anything about it.

I don't think we can be sure we're leading people to a peaceful death by treating their medical conditions but it might enable them to have more time. In the end, even with a terminal illness, no one knows WHEN they'll die.



pandoravampire
newbie
Location: melb till xmas 07, then portsm...
Member Since: 8th Dec 2005
Total posts: 3
Posted:at what point should we accept that life is a terminal illness?
Straight away. Having been in nursing for 25 yrs, its important to give people the prognosis. There is a process that people go through. From shock, disbelief, anger, denial, acceptance. Hospice nursing is about helping people through this natural process, so that they can prepare, say goodbye to loved ones, put their affairs in order.

Are we, by our desire to live longer, in fact giving ourselves a more uncomfortable death?
In some circumstances, definately. The rise of dementia is in direct correlation to longer living. The human brain dies, atrophies, and by 70, most of us will have cognitive deficits. But no matter how good medicine is today, we've yet discovered how to arrest the ageing process to our largest muscle, the heart, or our most complex organ, the brain. So you get longevity, but not quality necessarily. I believe that there is a line in the sand for me, whereby, having nursed this long, i do not want to for instance, live through dementia, empesemia, parkinsons, i basically only want to be alive, when the quality of life is higher than the ageing process. When it stops being fun, im outta here. By my own hand if necessary. These days, you get your diagnosis's, and you can therefor make a choice.
2 panadol every twenty minutes, for the rest of my life, is my choice! at that point. And that will allways be MY choice. I dont want to live long enough to be feacally incontinent, dribble saliva, no dignity.

In 25 yrs of nursing, ive never met a single person in a nursing home/rest home, that ANY of my relatives would of swapped places with to live longer! Me neither. Quality verses Quantity in my book. Die young, leave a decent corpse.

I feel sorry for religious folk, who are unable to have this choice, at a time in their life where they need it most.

My very good friend, knew he was HIV positive, made a living will to state, that should dementia occur, or a fatal disease, to pull the plug, no anti-biotics, no lung draining etc. Yet when he got to hospital having had a bleed into the brain, the first thing they did, was admit him for treatment. It took a good lawyer half a day, and eventually, for all of us to take him home, as he discharged himself 'against medical advice'. He died in 3 days, amoungst people who loved him, with dignity.

Dementia is a disgugsting state for a human to be allowed to enter. However, once there, it takes a very special kind of nurse to turn up day in, day out for work. Imagine what a spouse feels like, where everyday, no days off, ever, coping with seeing your loved one fade before you eyes.
Gross.
euthanasia rules ok in my book. It is in existance, has allways been in existance but we dont shout too loud about it, but 'here are you analgeasics, be careful, coz if you took the entire bottle, you'd kill yourself, so that's one every 4 hrs maximum okay?" is the normal dialogue that occurs. We have the right to make informed choices in life. To the end and including when the end is.

Good luck with your course!
now back to more serious matters of how the [censored] do i do the backward 3 beat weave!


Id been struggling with tricks for years, i attended a local group recently, and what learnt more in one night, being shown by others, than id tried alone at home, for months! lol


TobinWright
newbie

Member Since: 10th Apr 2008
Total posts: 30
Posted:You took the words RIGHT out of my mouth PandoraVampire. Well I may not have written it quite as well, but I agree with you 100%. I'm glad I'm not the only one. smile


Charles
Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland
Member Since: 27th Jun 2001
Total posts: 3989
Posted:Perspective on on aging...

A good topic, as the western population keeps aging for longer and longer before moving to another place, perspectives are very important.

You could use the business school model to generate your own perspectives in different areas.

Marketing - Where do the aged fit into our economy, how much importance do they have in terms of spend and does increased health encourage a better economy?

Ethics - Does respect for the elderly surpass current laws and the way society is changing with the not-yet-aged group? Are there elderly who should not be respected due to their past or current behaviour?

Spiritual - At what point with a degenerative disease does a persons actions stop being counted towards their final score? Does the strategy of accepting religon as death approaches exist, and if it does, does it have an impact on the final destination.

Social - What contributions do the aged give and receive from our community. Is it enough, too little or should other systems be in place for their protection or to increase their freedom?

Personal - What is the definition of aged? Does it apply to me yet and if not, when will it apply.


Does this little bit of brainstorming help at all, Mr M?


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Mr Majestik
Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear
Member Since: 9th Mar 2004
Total posts: 4693
Posted:it will when i get time to read it all.....*back to assignment thats due tomorrow*

by "back to" i mean "starts" tongue biggrin


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley


The Tea Fairy
The Tea Fairy

old hand
Location: Behind you...
Member Since: 2nd Jul 2004
Total posts: 853
Posted:Oooh, a big chunk of my dissertation was about attitudes towards death and dying! Shame it was so long ago and you're assignment is due soon!

We've definitely seen an increase in the number of debilitating illnesses that accompany our now prolongued old age - more cases of MS, alzheimers, cancers etc. so in a sense, yes, prolonging life often leads to a decrease in the quality of old age and death. The will to prolongue life as much as possible goes back to the late 1800s where medical advances experienced a sudden surge in developments (autopsies, penecillin, undertsanding of infections etc), so doctors began to become more ambitious in treating what were then serious diseases and ailments, so eventually death became viewed as a kind of medical failure. The body has long been objectified in medical science, so consideration of 'quality of life' is a fairly new development, if you look back at the past 200 years history of medical care.

That's about all I can remember off the top of my head!


Idolized by Aurinoko

Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind....

Bob Dylan


BLACKPHOENIX
newbie
Location: BRISTOL
Member Since: 8th Aug 2008
Total posts: 33
Posted:i haven't read everthing as theres a bit too much to read while at work but i'm pretty sure i agree with the majoraty of the above.

this may come across as harsh but everyone winges about the NHS being poor well if we stopped keeping people alive when the only thing to look forward to is death then it would probably have more money.

i understand that you can recover from a stroke but when my nan had 2 in a row which rendered her powerless to do anything apart from grown when she wanted somthing and dribble, it destroys people who are powerless to do anything there was no chance of recovery and yet if we had just let her go then that would have been classed as uthenaser (sorry if thats spelt wrong)

its leagle in holland why not here. when i'm ready to kick the bucket i'll go on my own terms if i'm not hit by a bus or killed on my bike first.

who wants to become old, seenyle and incontinant having their other half wipe there ass and bath them cause their not capable.

i think i'd rather just top myself and as said earlyer die young leave a lice looking corps



georgemc
georgemc

Sitting down facing forward . . .
Location: Christchurch
Member Since: 16th Oct 2006
Total posts: 2387
Posted:Well aparantly according to the rest of the HoP HQ crew I'm officially 'old'/aged!! Starting to feel it too sometimes!

But my parents who are 40 years older and still alive are perfect examples of what you're talking about I suspect Mr M...
Dad was in WWII and got blown up almost died (the guys he was with all did). He still has some of the metal in his body - and that's the problem (well we assume - that and the psychological effects over the years - unteated PSD no doubt). Anyway, he's still mobile barely and losing it in the head. He can't hold a normal conversation and it bugs the heck out of him. This year he had to give away all his begonias that he has been raising and cross breeding all his life because he can't care for them properly (he's internationally known for these so this is a big deal for him). He is now shutting down. We kids have "instructions" - very firm DNR and if he could I'm sure he'd be asking for the euthanasia pill if it existed and was legal (suicide not legal in NZ).
Mum's not quite as bad physicaly but last year she was a cot case until she had the hip replacement. Now she's probably got a few more years left in her but she has the same firm view on DNR etc.

So my (our?) view on this subject is that the health system should be there to support the people that want to prolong their life as long as possible and also support their right to end it when they wish in a dignified and pain free way.

No real references for oyu to quote here Mr M but hopefully of some use!
George


Written by: Doc Lightning talking about Marmite in Kichi's Intro thread

I have several large jars of the stuff. I actually like it... a little. And don't tell anyone I admitted to it.
grin


Mr Majestik
Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear
Member Since: 9th Mar 2004
Total posts: 4693
Posted:yes yes, very interesting what everyone is writing about. i like hop so much because of this. for uni we have to have 'discussions' as i stated, but it can be so difficult to academically reference your own opinions that peoples posts become bland and inhibit the real discussions as i'm seeing here.

 Written by :blackphoenix

this may come across as harsh but everyone winges about the NHS being poor...



i like this, everyone complains about the expenditure on health when in reality if they paid more attention to their own, the system wouldnt need so much money. in my mind the fact that the system is poor is good in a way, it means all the money they have is being spent rather than stockpiled, only we cant always tell if it results in better healthcare deliever.

my curiosity with dementia, as most people are talking about it, is that could it actually be nice? at least for some people? i've met many dementia patients that have a wonderful time doing virtually nothing. in some strange way it seems that old age would be nicer if you were living in an alternate reality as dementia patients are. although yes i do know there is also the flip side, confusion, frustration, denial, disbelief that many suffer. in the paper a couple of days ago there was a discussion about swiss scientists that were investigating LSD and magic mushrooms for their reality distorting qualities for potential use in terminal patients. an interesting concept but i think it doesnt really sounds ethically plausable, not without stringent regulation at least, and then there would also be growth of a black market for the trippin medication, and ability to sustain the illusion. 'open your eyes' anyone?

 Written by :the tea fairy

Oooh, a big chunk of my dissertation was about attitudes towards death and dying! Shame it was so long ago and you're assignment is due soon!



thats ok i have more assignments! and i would be interested in reading it even if i didnt, is there somewhere on the web i can download it?

 Written by :charles

You could use the business school model to generate your own perspectives in different areas



very relevant idea, it is the general way i like to look at things i think. i'm somewhat cynnical. cynnical is good for writing assignments too smile

Pandoravampire mentions quality over quantity in living but i can only reply to that with what Nee has already mentioned, nobody knows when they die. likewise nobody knows when they are going to suffer a stroke or traumatic brain injury or paraplegia or any number of life alter events. i know we all dream of living a long life of great quality and one day going to bed at night and not waking up, but who really expects that to happen? surely for at least a section of the people talking here, some are going to suddenly become incapable of making that decision? does that justify a fear of ageing?

Many people in my course supply academic references from authorative books or journals explaining the causes of ageism, but personally i think ageism simply exists because every person born doesnt really want to contemplate their own death.


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley


georgemc
georgemc

Sitting down facing forward . . .
Location: Christchurch
Member Since: 16th Oct 2006
Total posts: 2387
Posted: Written by :Mr Majestik


my curiosity with dementia, as most people are talking about it, is that could it actually be nice? at least for some people?


Maybe for some people - I haven't really seen that many people in this state, but I know my Dad is hating it. He knows he should know what it was he was about to say, he's struggling to say it and it makes him more tense and makes it worse - so it's a vicious cycle that makes everything worse.


Written by: Doc Lightning talking about Marmite in Kichi's Intro thread

I have several large jars of the stuff. I actually like it... a little. And don't tell anyone I admitted to it.
grin



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