It’s true that we are all living longer: the percentage of American adults over 65 years old has doubled since 1940, now reaching 13%. By 2050 that number is expected to double again to 25%. In actual numbers this translates to an estimated 89 million “senior citizens” by 2050.
Advances in sanitation and the advent of antibiotics has been responsible for much of this shift, and researchers continue to probe how changes in diet, medications, and genetics can slow or stop the process of aging. Artificial life preserving technology, transplantation, and advanced chemotherapies have transformed once fatal diseases into chronic illnesses. But living longer does not necessarily mean living better. Our ability to maintain the basic presence of life with medicines or machines does not mean we can continue to preserve the essence of the person that came before. We are still mortal, and we do eventually die.
Therefore, it is vitally important that you think about the type of health care you desire to receive as you approach the end of life. Saturday is National Health Care Decisions Day—April 16, 2016. Plan a time now to write out or update your personal wishes for your end of life care.
Read more at Forbes.