The plight of the elderly in First world countries - (And the ethical implications of commoditizing elder care)

Nate Higgers

“Shit and two is eight” - Phil Gillis
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I’m working on a project at a senior care facility for work. Part of what I’m doing requires me to be in the residents rooms and doing work while they’re in the corridors or in their own rooms bedridden or staring out the window in a wheelchair.

I’ve been thinking about the whole situation with people living longer than they did 20-30 years ago, and I wonder if some of the elderly individuals in situations like these are existing or if theyre living. I’m not trying to advocate for euthanasia or assisted suicide, let me be clear. I’m simply wondering if there needs to be some kind of ethical discussion about the quality of life some senior citizens are able to get once they’re at a certain age (also taking into account their medical/psychological condition).

At the risk of sounding like a full tinfoil hatted conspiracy theorist I am aware that there’s a large chunk of business and revenue that comes from the commoditization of elder care (basically everything except the beds and the meds in a hospital or a care facility is made by McKesson, a publicly traded corporation), and there’s a whole cottage house industry that popped up around charging medicare/insurance companies/TriCare for all the services and personnel that make up elder care.

tl;dr: is there something we can do for the elderly that are in these situations to help them get a better quality of life? Is it ethical to even consider that some of these individuals are being kept alive simply because its profitable from an actuarial POV?
 

Nate Higgers

“Shit and two is eight” - Phil Gillis
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Who cares about senile diaper shitters. They're for the jab mandate so that makes them the enemy of our rights. Thankfully they'll be dead soon.
The geezers I’m talking about are like the ones in this care home who are like 80-90 years old and they can’t even bathe themselves or exist without full time care. I’m sure you’re talking about the 50-60 year old “well back in MY day what *I* did was” cohort.

I’m talking about the wheelchair geezers who have no more political opinions, or thoughts that are more detailed than “what the fuck is this filipino nurse trying to say I just want to watch John Wayne”
 

m1ddl3m4rch

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The geezers I’m talking about are like the ones in this care home who are like 80-90 years old and they can’t even bathe themselves or exist without full time care. I’m sure you’re talking about the 50-60 year old “well back in MY day what *I* did was” cohort.

I’m talking about the wheelchair geezers who have no more political opinions, or thoughts that are more detailed than “what the fuck is this filipino nurse trying to say I just want to watch John Wayne”
And I'm saying covid has made me completely ambivalent toward the elderly and their supposed plight. They've lived longer than most in history. Whether their lives were good or bad, fun or sorrowful, easy or hard, they've had enough life for one lifetime. Time to draw the curtain on these person-shaped burdens.
 

Nate Higgers

“Shit and two is eight” - Phil Gillis
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And I'm saying covid has made me completely ambivalent toward the elderly and their supposed plight. They've lived longer than most in history. Whether their lives were good or bad, fun or sorrowful, easy or hard, they've had enough life for one lifetime. Time to draw the curtain on these person-shaped burdens.
I can’t say I haven’t had the same thought as you and I see it echoed in the How Did Boomers Become This Way thread on this same board. That’s also why I included that sort of afterthought towards the end of the OP about the huge cash cow that is elder care.

I’m just trying to pick some farmers brains on the situation
 

Chocolate Wombat

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tl;dr: is there something we can do for the elderly that are in these situations to help them get a better quality of life? Is it ethical to even consider that some of these individuals are being kept alive simply because its profitable from an actuarial POV?
I think something that might make things easier for them is some sort of hybrid care where they are visited at home by trained staff to help the family care for them. But with the people at the ages and in the states you're talking about it's really just palliative care and waiting for them to die.

It also makes me question the value of extending life so long when the last decade or so the person is practically a vegetable. I'm not sure I want to make it to 90 if I'm barely sentient at 80.
 

Nate Higgers

“Shit and two is eight” - Phil Gillis
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It also makes me question the value of extending life so long when the last decade or so the person is practically a vegetable. I'm not sure I want to make it to 90 if I'm barely sentient at 80.
That’s basically what I’m saying while simultaneously dancing around the issue of euthanasia. I’m working with a coworker who is like 61-62 years old who “most likely has throat cancer” and we’ve been having conversations about this all week regarding him thinking “I don’t know if I even want to live that long if I gotta live like them…I’d rather not do the chemo and just let the cancer take me”
 

Prophetic Spirit

"Degenerates like you deserve to be Agni Kai'd"
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first world countries? there's some 3rd world countries with the same problem
not every country from that world is a failure nation, you know? others are struggling with similar problems, just with less money.
 

Chocolate Wombat

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That’s basically what I’m saying while simultaneously dancing around the issue of euthanasia. I’m working with a coworker who is like 61-62 years old who “most likely has throat cancer” and we’ve been having conversations about this all week regarding him thinking “I don’t know if I even want to live that long if I gotta live like them…I’d rather not do the chemo and just let the cancer take me”
I don't think there's a good answer to the question as it's different for every person. I'm personally of the opinion that as long as I'm coherent I'm going to keep on trying to stay alive. I can totally relate to someone who is in their 60s, sees how miserable people going through chemo are and nopes the fuck out of that. It's a shitty choice to have to make.
 

Dyn

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first world countries? there's some 3rd world countries with the same problem
not every country from that world is a failure nation, you know? others are struggling with similar problems, just with less money.
Developing countries don't have that problem because they're not plastic corporate dystopias ruled by HR karens and mayonnaise ghouls, so the people there still have decent values and actually respect and take care of their elderly relatives.
 

Uberpenguin

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Uh...no, I don't think there is any way to, at least barring anything cataclysmic shaking up the world.

As time goes by and everything becomes outdated faster and faster, the accumulated wisdom the elderly possess becomes less and less valuable in a material sense. Once upon a time they held knowledge about the world that really gave them value, nowadays with how readily available information is and how fast the world changes they simply become obsolete. People also move around a lot more and there's no local community support web to make caring for the elderly at home feasible, so they have to get shipped off to homes where people need to specifically go out of their way to see them or involve them in things.

But with technology comes transhumanist perspectives and distance from nature, which involves major unease with organic concepts like death.

In other words people wouldn't even consider letting the olds die, but they also want to spend as little time, effort, and resources on them living as humanly possible because dealing with them is inconvenient and they provide no easily quantifiable benefit within the system, and charity does not work as a long term motivator. Welcome to the world we live in.
 

El Gato Grande

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I think they should have a choice if they are possible of making it.

Otherwise I believe they should be kept alive as long as possible because while life is often terrible (especially for the elderly) you only live once.
 

TurdFondler

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It's almost impossible to work a 40 hour work week and then also tend to someone with complex needs like dementia.

I fully believe elderly care facilities exist mainly to make sure there's no wealth to transfer between generations of the working class.
 

B2_Spirit

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I've got relatives that insist on taking care of their 80 and 90s something in-laws and parents. They're wealthy enough to do it though, they don't need to be at work. I admire the sentiment/dedication because to me that's how it used to work and how it should be - I've seen what happens to the elderly in some of these care homes and fuck that. Then the boomers came along, treated their kids badly and wonder why they get shoved in a home at the first opportunity. I blame the general direction of the system away from inter-generational living and wealth and toward turning us all into worker bugs.

Taking care of dementia riddled relatives in no joke, to be clear. And there's nothing fun at the end of it. Most people in the past considered it a moral duty, and most of that generation considered it a moral duty to their kids on the other end. These days, who fucking knows. Everything is fucked. I know the day my brain stops working adequately and I'm just gonna go take a nap between some freight train cars because I don't have anyone who'd help and I wouldn't want to live unable to bathe, or remember my own name. But I'd want to go out on my own terms in my own way (out in Nature, for sure), not in some institution or in one of those cringe gassing pods in Switzerland.

I just feel bad for society in general. We've progressed in absolutely the wrong way.