Why not subscribe?

Monday, October 28, 2019

Getting older

I just finished reading an essay "Why we can't tell the truth about aging" by Arthur Krystal.  Krystal gives brief reviews of a number of books on aging, and then gives some of his own thoughts.  I don't want to discuss a discussion, but I want to add my own thoughts that his essay brought to mind.

Retirement is great if you have your health, enough money, things to do, and enough friends and family. I'm lucky enough to have all four now.

But the one thing that in the long run will not stay is good health, and we don't know how many years of good health we have.  If we did, we would have a sort of reverse "how old you are" based on how many good years we have left: I might have ten, you might have 5, my wife might have 25.

Statistics are of little help, because actuarial statistics are based on groups of people, and the predictions for individuals have such big error bounds that they are basically useless (until, of course, you have a very terminal disease and they recommend hospice -- I don't need that type of certainty).

Of course, we live with uncertainty of various types all of our lives.  This uncertainty around how many good years we have left is different though: it's a very final uncertainty (death being much more final than whether we will get a promotion at work). It's combined with the additional uncertainty of whether we will go quickly, or whether we will linger on for a long time in disability or dementia.

No comments:

Post a Comment