The exponential development of ever more effective pharmaceuticals over the last seventy-five years or so has meant that people no longer die from simple diseases. Which is good in one way- no one really wants to die from something that is easily treatable - but the flip side of this advance is that the only things left to die from are the Big Nasties; cancer, heart disease, stroke and degenerative illnesses. What a delightful prospect.
People are living longer and mental degeneration is part of the territory, and one that is greatly feared. Quite right too. I would far rather die at an earlier age from, say flu, than be cured, only to spend my old age wandering and widdling to the disgust and exasperation of the children and grandchildren.
And there is the continuing debate over assisted suicide.....
The government both want us to live longer, hence the constant nagging about cigarettes, alcohol units, 5-a-day fruit and veg, yadda yadda, so we can keep bringing in the cash to the treasury until we retire in our seventies (or whatever the latest figure is), and don't want us to live longer, as the the hand-wringing over the increasingly elderly placing an ever-greater burden on social, financial and medical resources shows.
My solution: stop giving out antibiotics to patients over fifty (that includes me - I'd happily take my chances). That'll cut down on the old buggers cluttering up the place.