The New York Times had a great article recently on the “life extension” industry, and on the longevity entrepreneurs who are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into anti-aging research.
The author of the article argues that an appreciation of our own lives is based a great deal on our ever-increasing (as we age) awareness of how short life is. And that it’s this awareness and acceptance of our mortality that makes us human and allows us to live life to the fullest. To her, eliminating death would eliminate who we are.
Even without considering the practical problems of eternal life (such as a need for endless pensions and issues of overcrowding), the author makes a convincing argument that immortality may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. You can read the article “Life is Short. That’s the Point” here.
The counter argument
Of course, the longevity entrepreneurs disagree that death – and our awareness and acceptance of it – is what makes us human. Peter Thiel, the billionaire founder of PayPal and an investor in life extension research, believes just the opposite. In Thiel’s opinion, it’s against human nature NOT to fight death.
While acknowledging that death is natural, he points out that dental cavities and pain during childbirth are natural too, but we have dental treatments and pain medication to deal with these natural events. He believes that death should be transcended in much the same way. You can read more on Thiel’s views in this interview with the Washington Post.
Just a little something to think about over your coffee today … Thanks for reading!
A recent survey commissioned by HomeEquity Bank suggests that the majority of older Canadians plan on staying in their homes as they age (otherwise known as aging in place) rather than downsizing and/or moving into assisted living or retirement communities. 93% of survey respondents aged 65 or older felt that it was important that they remain at their current home throughout retirement. 69% of them advised that their primary reason for wishing to remain at home was to maintain independence as they age.
The older respondents (75 years or older) advised that it was important to them that they remain in their current home to stay close to family, friends, and/or the community (51%) and that emotional attachment and memories were also contributing factors (40%).
In order to remain living at home as long as possible into retirement, advance planning in terms of finances and logistics may be necessary. A recent article appearing in Forbes suggests that the following steps, unrelated to financial planning, may be especially useful in facilitating successful aging in place:
- Maintaining social connections to avoid social isolation;
- Identifying who will help, whether family members, friends, or public services;
- Planning for the transition as needs change over time and identifying the resources and services available in the community;
- Preparing the home to accommodate increased needs (for example, by installing grab bars and a chair in the shower);
- Reviewing and updating the plan to age in place as may be necessary (due to a change in health, available support, or financial constraints).
Notwithstanding one’s plans to continue living at the family home, increasing longevity, a lack of liquidity, unrealistic expectations in terms of income sources after retirement, and the high cost (or local inaccessibility) of caregiving services may contribute to a decision to sell the home and relocate earlier than intended.
Thank you for reading.