Letting them Fall
The Greatest Urgency of Now
It’s arguably the worst condition that affects humanity. It comes to most all of us. It turns the possibility of youth into an ever increasing list of things you can’t do – and it ends in pain, in humiliation sometimes, in helplessness, in losing those we love and in being lost to those we love.
Of course, until possible methods of addressing the frailty of old age became something that might be understood and achieved this was the ultimate case of acceptance; ‘it is what it is’, ‘what can we do but get on with it’.
In a not too distant point into the future this conversation will be as unnecessary as it was pointless until now. What was impossible will become taken for granted. Now at the early stages of investigation and trials is when this is vital. Now is when we must shout from the rooftops. Even if the collective psychology naturally rebels against changing something that is so, deeply ingrained as inescapable by society, it is now that our investment and endeavours will decide when that future arrives, and this ultimately is a question of life and death.
If we can just park the inevitability of old age even as a hypothetical for the moment. Let’s consider the expressions:
‘ah sure he was a good age’.
‘It was kindness that it didn’t drag on for any longer’.
Are you sure you will be so circumspect when it comes to you, or even your parents and loved ones
As I have argued elsewhere in this blog we sometimes think that people are too young at age x to die in a war for example but at age y it is ok….this was born of the historically inexplicable reality of wars, but no one really looks at their child and says on their 18th birthday, yes, now is ok for you be decimated by a projectile. It is the same necessary but false rational around old age.
Most all of us are aware of this deterioration and how in its many forms it eats away at the person, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, sometimes part of their mental apparatus suffer along ,sometimes not. Their mobility, their confidence, their perspective of their appearance, their contributions to society, their memory all wane and suffer…and then in so many cases they fall….often more than once. The once youthful person who could throw themselves about with abandon and even if they did hurt themselves had these wonderful abilities to recover and be strong again are now doomed by each fall. Eventually they lie in a hospital bed slipping in and out of consciousness and existence.
This is awful. It is tragic, painful, debilitating, unproductive (if that’s how you see the world), and for the first time ever…..not inevitable.
The emotion is clear on this topic but must be removed from people’s analysis of the medicine and the causes of ageing and the progress the field is making. Read and research, trustworthy research, review the disagreements and ambiguities that remain in the field, and do, do all of this, but one thing will be apparent, there may well remain significant differences on the when we arrive at a point that we can extend lifespan beyond a year per year, but, there are almost no serious scientists that view it as for some reason something that is going to remain impossible.
There are many important causes, undoubtedly, but our reluctance to believe and so understand and our well placed historical fear of charlatans in this field all leave us with surely one of the most important causes being incredibly underfunded. Science is making progress, and the pathways are clear but it is literally, painfully slow. . What needs to happen between this day and a day when we can avoid the debilitating elements of old age and so address alzheimers, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, osteoporosis and a whole host of other diseases that are age related, what needs to happen is a long list of investigation, experimentation, collaboration, trials, errors, corrections, advances; until, ultimately we arrive at successes. These things they are all time consuming, but the number of people who work on different areas and collaborate and explore directly reduce that time….and the number of people who work comes down to investment, investment comes down to funds, funds come down to knowledge and advocacy and that comes down to us…now!
Write to your politician, write to your newspaper, make a video, form or join a group, raise funds, funds and awareness. Over 100 million people per year die of age related diseases. This is the great urgency of now….shout from the rooftops!