People Underestimate the Burden of Age-Related Frailty and Disease

It could be argued that one of the reasons why people are willing to put aside consideration of rejuvenation research, and the related prospects for therapies to turn back aging, is that most underestimate the burdens of age. They are young enough to not be personally impacted today, and the older people they know don't tend to be all that open about the challenges, the pain, the suffering. No-one wants to be the walking medical catalog in the conversation, but everyone gets to be just that at some point, when it can't be hidden away any more. From a stoic perspective, if being old isn't that bad, and then you die peacefully, then that isn't such a terrible situation to be in. I think many people have exactly this errant view - that being old isn't that bad from a physical and mental perspective. Yet it is, it is. It is just that older people tend to be reserved about their suffering, popular entertainment features fit and happy older folk, and most younger individuals only have to go through the process of brutal disillusionment once, with the decline of their parents. That still leaves much of a life span in which those illusions can be maintained.

The ill health of old age is a formidable sword of Damocles looming over us all, and when it falls down, it typically does not hit just us; the elderly are certainly the primary victims, but their family are collateral casualties. When people lose their health and independence to aging, their families have to go through the pain of seeing their loved ones becoming more and more fragile, sick, dependent, perhaps even demented. Adding insult to injury, the troubles caused by aging don't stop here, because a sick and dependent person needs looking after. Thus, the family of an elderly person needs to step in themselves to take care of their relative; if this is not possible, a nursing home is likely going to be the only option left.

Personally taking care of a sick elder is no joke. It requires patience, effort, and most of all, time. It's a real challenge, especially so for people who have young kids of their own to look after. Let's also not forget that it is emotionally very taxing. The nursing home option may partly solve the problem, because there, somebody else does the caring for you, but telling your elders that you can't take care of them any more isn't the best feeling in the world, for you or for them. This can be a rather costly solution, too and as much as every last penny spent to take care of a loved one is well spent, a typical family only has so many pennies, and just because they need them for grandpa, it doesn't mean they can conjure money out of thin air.

As things stand, when we're going to be old, our dear ones will be faced with the issues above; however, if a decent rejuvenation platform was in place by then, none of these issues would materialize, because we'd be healthy and independent in spite of our age. We would never be a burden on our dear ones, and the time we'd spend together would be quality time for us and for them. Luckily for me, I'm still very far from that stage of life when all your friends of a lifetime keep dying. I like to think that there would be more than one person grieving for my loss, and I believe that would actually be the case for most of us. If we exclude few, rare scenarios, your friends, and family would probably rather have you alive and well than inside a coffin. Thanks to rejuvenation, your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, and your friends may benefit from your presence, life experience, and persona for a much longer time. This would be a benefit for you as well, because you could live through your 80s, 90s, and who knows how much longer, without having to bury a dear friend a few times a year.



I must say, LEAF is doing a bang up job. Videos with some of Youtubes best (These are FANTASTIC, I'm a huge fan of CGP Grey!). They are getting the word out.

This too is a good step. Articles like this help "Put you in other peoples shoes".

The burden of aging is HUGE, and as you all know, I'm experiencing it right now with my mom (Good news BTW, she's going to be ok. She's still in a lot of pain, but she's going to be going home in the next few weeks. She's going to be able to live on her own again... for a while).

Emotional pain, financial pain, societal pain, and so much more.

I wish older people would stop being quiet about the agony of age. They need to be much more vocal about it. A few eloquent older folk who would share those experiences and if we could somehow get these testimonies out to main audiences, maybe we could spark some action. The sheer depression and hopelessness might make some people move into action.

Posted by: Mark Borbely at October 24th, 2017 10:04 AM

"Miriam Margolyes: 'No one tells you what old age is like. I don't care about raising hell'
The outspoken actress wants to break open a conspiracy of silence about ageing"

"Recently diagnosed with osteoporosis, she has now decided to use that gift for forthright observation to highlight the realities of ageing. "Nobody tells you that old age is going to be shitty," she says simply. "It's a kind of conspiracy.""

Posted by: Jim at October 24th, 2017 11:16 AM

I forgot to mention that it is a pity that Miriam Margolyes is unaware of the efforts to do something about aging (SENS/LEAF). Maybe someone from LEAF should try to do an interview with her on what old age is actually like, but also to make her aware of the efforts to deal with aging?

At 75, she might already be at the point where getting her hopes up is too painful and too unlikely to see any benefits in time though?

Posted by: Jim at October 24th, 2017 11:22 AM

@ Jim : She seems to be from the UK, so maybe Steve could try to contact her for an interview ?

Posted by: Spede at October 24th, 2017 12:28 PM

No, Steve/LEAF will probably not be able to get past her gatekeeper. Plus she will have never heard of them. Still, could it hurt to ask?

Posted by: Jim at October 24th, 2017 1:41 PM

I remember reading that article earlier this year! But yes, that's a good one.

I've been around aging and death my whole life, and it still amazes me that so many people either have incredible luck and don't have to face it until much later, or are REALLY good at denial.

But, if we had more of it out in front where everyone could see it... everyone could experience it...

If you have a hard time getting someone to support SENS or rejuvenation tech, take them for a meal at a care home if you can. It can be very eye opening especially if you get a chance to talk to the staff.

We shelter ourselves from it as much as we can... and in the past, it was for good reason. People have a good idea that getting old sucks. But they have no idea HOW BADLY it sucks.

Might be a motivator....

Posted by: Mark Borbely at October 24th, 2017 3:27 PM

The problem is, people like this have gatekeepers. We believe the best way to attract celebs to the cause is to popularize it. That means creating a strong grassroots movement that brings in more and more people and will eventually attract stars. Celebs are drawn to popular causes so we will continue to popularize the field as we have been doing.

There are more high profile videos coming, we are working with other large broadcasters and we will be pushing the boundaries even further in the coming year. Meanwhile keep reading, supporting and join our discord server if you want to stay in touch.

Posted by: Steve Hill at October 26th, 2017 3:52 AM

Ah. Well as you say, the more popular videos are out there, the better your chances to go through the gatekeepers after all. Looking forward to watching the upcoming productions !

Posted by: Spede at October 26th, 2017 5:09 AM

I am not convinced that people care about living long as much as they care about living well. And that only through guarantee of the second will they be interested in considering, much less supporting, the first. When I say 'well', I mean undertaking a lifestyle that provides the pleasures that they seek - however you define those pleasures/ happinesses (hedonism, career/skill goals, charitable acts, fostering desirable family/friend interactions, etc). The idea is that people are more interested in supplementing the good parts in their life than they are about minimizing the bad parts in their life, age-related miseries included. And I fully believe that they are fully cognizant of all the consequent miseries that age and making less-than-ideal healthy decisions entails. To believe that people are 'rational actors' as the economists term it, is folly. So, rather than advocating age-prevention as a minimizer and eliminator of misery, advocate age-prevention strategies as a 'prolonger' of your idealized lifestyle choice. To act any other away is to live in denial of human nature's greatest definer: carpe diem.

Posted by: Jer at October 28th, 2017 4:46 PM

My experience is very different. All the old people I know want to live, whathever the health problems they have.

Posted by: Antonio at October 29th, 2017 2:25 AM
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