Letter: We Live Too Long

To the Editor:

When will we, as rational individuals, begin to discuss with our doctors and families the problem of modern medicine keeping us alive too long? Not society, or legislators — just ourselves making our own choices.

We are now faced with more people living long past productivity, seeking purpose, meaning and enjoyment. We endeavor to amuse ourselves with continuing education, producing crafts, being busy with reading, various puzzles, companionship, families, even community service — still contributing — and most ironically, keeping physically fit through diet and exercise.

Medicine works miracles to keep us living into further levels of infirmity, dementia and dying with “dignity” — without which we would probably have died earlier and perhaps with more dignity. We are now warned of facing a new generation of potentially infirm and demented baby boomers needing more expensive care and concern.

Let us be careful of that for which we wish and hope. We might get it, as some of us already have. Alas!

Jack Hemenway