A piece in the Sunday Review in today’s New York Times deconstructs the condition that will overtake us all, not an illness but the inevitable process of ageing. Anne Karpf writes of the unyielding negative caste a youthful culture in America puts on those guilty of aging. “Ageism is simply prejudice against one’s future self,” Karpf observes. That attitude is shortsighted and ignores one inevitable fact of our mutual existence.
It is reminiscent of a 1984 speech, in which Gov. Richard Lamm of Colorado said elderly people who are terminally ill have a ”duty to die and get out of the way” instead of trying to prolong their lives by artificial means. I am hardly the first to suggest that America is cruel to the elderly among us. If we are fortunate enough to live to attain senior citizen status, we will inherit this delightful narrow-mindedness of the youngest generation in the history of the United States.
People like us need to be particularly sensitive to this rhetorical dead-end street. Chronic conditions are tied to Aging. By 2030, according to the CDC, the number of U.S. adults aged 65 or older will more than double to about 71 million. More than eighty percent of us will live with a chronic illness, fifty percent with two. Welcome to our future. Battling enemies within us is daunting enough. We have to take on the entire population.? We need to undergo one giant attitude check. Maybe a candidate for President will take on this issue. I doubt it.
Two in one day. I must be bored.