Achieving Sudden Death (Versus a Long and Miserable Life)

 

By Pamela D Wilson MS, BS/BA, CSA, NCG

My friends and colleagues report a preference for dying “quickly” rather than “lingering” for years with a chronic disease that steals quality of life. My parents expressed the same preference and achieved their desire to go quickly rather than to be sustained by machines or to live a long and painful death. My father went into the hospital for routine surgery and failed to wake up the next morning. My mother, succumbed to sepsis and was gone within a matter of hours. My sister’s death was sudden, the result of a car accident.

The idea of sudden death is gaining momentum through a new movement called The Healthspan Imperative. Industry leaders including the American Geriatrics Society and the Buck Institute for Aging Research, are supporting the concept of Healthspan.

What does this mean? The goal of the Healthspan Imperative is not to extend life but to increase the years of life during which we experience good health and vitality rather than lingering for years with debilitating chronic disease.

This imperative directly relates to the concept of caregiving; most caregivers experience health declines from participation in the role of caregiver and eventually become care recipients. How might we change the trajectory of our lives by embracing the concept of Healthspan?

Sticker shock is experienced by caregivers and care recipients at the time care is needed when the costs of in home care, assisted living, or nursing home communities are investigated. The role of caregiving poses significant effects on health, the workplace and retirement as many caregivers neglect their own health and well-being at the expense of dedicating time to caring for a loved one. And when the caregiver needs care, who will be available?

The Healthspan Campaign is comprised of organizations advocating for research focused on the biology of aging to determine methods to support a healthier life that would consequentially provide financial benefits to the US and global economy by way of reduced healthcare expenditures. Increasing health literacy is a critical component to improving quality of life not only when we are young but as we age.

At the basics of this concept is gaining an understanding of how the choices we make today regarding our health affect our future relative to care needs. We have the power to change our personal Healthspan.

Are we willing to make lifestyle changes to ward off medical conditions affected by our physical fitness and mental well-being? Will we embrace the concept of willpower versus instant gratification knowing that we might live healthier into our old age, rather than living a long and miserable life in response to a diagnosis of multiple chronic diseases?

What’s your hope for your end of life experience? Share with us on Facebook below.

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©2015 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.

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