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Altering human life expectancy is undoubtedly not a logical idea.The average lifespan for an American is roughly 79 years old, but scientists are working relentlessly to merely extend the average lifespan to 120 years. With this alteration, the determined direction for our foreseeable future is in potential danger. Looking at residents in a facility like a nursing home, you can observe that a majority of them are over 80 and they are no longer living life like they typically did twenty years ago they live a routine daily lifestyle, and extending that would be cruel.
When we begin to open up the possibility to extend life expectancy, we begin to questions of when do we draw the line and if this is the right path to go down. If live is just lived and not enjoyed, life has lost all meaning. Drastic lifestyle changes in life planning would need to be put into place to make this successful. Pushing death out of the picture can only work for so long because it is bound to happen, it’s our basic cycle of life.
Idealistically living longer sounds surreal and purposeful but for what reason? Scientist shouldn’t intervene with human life expectancy for the convenience of family. Brown (2015) adds with wisdom, “·years are being added to our lives, life is not being added to our years: the extra years are being added at the very end of our lives and are of poor quality” which is this case is why altering life expectancy will only merely extend the length, not the quality of our life.
To alter life expectancy is relatively complex but like everything else scientist have found a way with modern technology and research to make it possible. Scientist are focusing their research to have a focus on the quantity of life rather than quality and the damage is done to the individual Once thought of aging and death as the natural cycle of life is currently considered a disease that is soon to be treatable. We all age due to senescence, the aging of active cells where the cells mature and stop splitting. To extend life scientists is searching for ways to alter the aging process by using biotechnology in genetic mutations and telomeres. A few biotechnologies include drugs that intentionally slow down the aging processes along with efficient technologies to organically generate new tissue and organs. We right now have the technology and academic advancement to use stem cell technology, 3D printing of organs along with gene therapy to more significantly extend life and xenotransplantations which are the cell, organ and tissue transplant of two different species. Another biotechnology mechanism is genome editing, this is by genetically engineering to carefully insert, delete, modify and merely replace DNA. One other biotechnology is using telomeres to prevent the cells in our body from aging by reversing them. Right now, we have telomeres on the ends of our chromosomes and each time a cell divides which comes with aging, the telomeres are decreasing in size and eventually they are divided so many times they are unable to do their job and this is when we die of old age. If high-profile scientists are able to discover how to unanimously reverse the complex process of the telomeres the likely future for aging will be completely changed. These techniques will be used to alter human life expectancy by pushing death farther out of sight. Even without science interventions, naturally life expectancy will still increase because of advancements. New research, discoveries and technology are becoming so advanced that because many illnesses are more well known and treatable therefore, extending life.
When thinking about the meaning of life we value our time and appreciate because we know our time is limited.We have our golden years from our juvenile years to mid sixties and after our golden years our independence and self-reliance is decreased. Nursing homes seem to be what many elders dread but have to rely on the older they become. When you are no longer capable to care for yourself and simply knowing your health will only decrease can’t be a pleasant pill to swallow. At some point and some age you are no longer living, you are alive especially when you typically have no voluntary control of your body and are on a fixed schedule that benefits the nurse. Although letting go of a loved one can be heart wrenching, delaying death can bring seldom upon more potential health problems to your loved one.We see that nearly half of the residents in nursing homes are depressed because of their living and health situations so, how long could we prolong death for the benefit of the family? We can’t live eternally but when you are incapable to undertake your daily cares and no longer living just simply alive it becomes difficult to see and value life itself. If extending our life expectancy to over 100 years, we recognize multiple problems that could be occurring mentally and physically. Without eliminating cancer, Alzheimer’s amongst other incurable diseases, how can scientists begin to look into extending life. The quality of life has failed to keep up with life extensions and science is failing us if they put extending life expectancy in front of the mind and head. Although it’s not right to take life away from people, it’s also not right to extend it so much that life is no longer enjoyed and spent in a nursing home.
Morally speaking, keeping someone alive so their family doesn’t have to mourn their loss is selfish. The older people get the more the realization of death sets in and is accepted. To restrict their money to save for many more years of retirement is taking away from their quality and everything they’ve ever worked for just to stay alive longer. With the reasonable probability that increasing life expectancy will occur in the near future, drastic changes in life planning would have to take place to properly make this extension possible. Right now an average nursing home facility cost over 90,000 dollars and if you times that by double the average time spent in a nursing home, then you can recognize how money could become a huge component in this extension. Life isn’t easy and many people work extremely hard in their more youthful years to pay for their retirement and if life was extended the harder and more they would have to save for retirement costs. Life planning in considering to extend life expectancy is tough to foresee because you would have to rethink retirement completely. Would we expect people to work longer, saving for their longer retirement o would we expect the same amount of years of work with a slightly raised retirement age? If we work longer with a significant amount of hours just to live longer we would ultimately have less time for the things that are most important which tends to be friends and family. If we make work and saving money such a priority it would consume us and the meaning and purpose of life would potentially be lost. When we fluctuate a longer life expectancy, we can’t just expect nothing else to change because things will, significantly. Retirement is something individuals should be excited for, it’s a time when all your hard countless years spent working, taking care of your family will finally pay of and you get to relax. Living and enjoying life before retirement is essential and worrying if you’ll have enough money to retire may always be in the back of your head keeping you from checking things of your bucketlist. Total alterations would have to take place in order for you to still enjoy your youth and retirement stages in life.
With age comes age related diseases, disabilities, dementia and dysfunction. More curable illness become more severe with age and increases in cancer, heart failure become more of a concern. Currently these diseases are incurable and as age increases so does the chances of being diagnosed. This is the most concerning problem when pondering and trying to reason with the scientists because the research isn’t developed enough to know whether diseases and alzheimer’s will take over as age increases. I myself working in the Memory Care unit in a nursing home, it’s tough to watch the most loving, caring, interesting elders lose everything and sit in their recliner staring off into their own little world. It’s devastating for families and us caregivers, especially as their disease progresses, slowly forgetting their children and spouses. My great-uncle two years ago was walking, storytelling and remembering much and aware of his surroundings. The next year, his disease took over and within the year he stopped speaking, walking and eating independently this was something I saw progress almost daily. This disease is devastating when you see your loved one not remember you and have no recognition to his wife or hurting children. With personal experience I would speak on behalf of families that would have to experience this if life was extended saying it’s not a good well thought through idea. Just simply knowing my grandpa is almost certain to get alzheimer’s, I wouldn’t want to extend his life for the well being of him and our family. Although all families may not experience tragedies, the chances of experiencing Alzheimer’s increases 50 percent after the age of 85.
For the purpose of the foreseeable future, the theoretical future would be altered completely even if human life expectancy was only increased a few years because it will progressively become increased. At some point we would be consuming many resources and relying on society will you’re no longer contributing to either. Our demand for nursing home and nursing staff will become a great concern. Some countries of the world will likely be overcrowded and lead to an overpopulation that is unmanageable. With a aging population, an increase in pension and health care cost will eat you alive. Promised social security is of high concern and claiming benefits for a much longer amount of time may become problematic. Although living longer may seen ideal, living a pain free independent lifestyle will not happen forever and spending decades in a nursing home would become
Aging is natural as well as death and amongst other illnesses and incurable diseases living longer shouldn’t be top priority especially because the average lifespan is already increasing naturally at a more controllable pace. We have already tackled many illnesses such as infections, fixed with a simple antibiotic or our cure for chicken pox which killed millions previously so, advancements in the medical field is already done its part in extending life expectancy without other unnecessary alterations. Death is not the issue and although though and life changing for some families extending life for your loved ones only fumes more futuristic problems. This causes people to lose touch with the meaning of life and spend our last few decades in pain or living expensively in a nursing home facility. Death is scary because it’s not understood, especially when you’re not the one in pain or in a nursing home for 30 plus years. Family wants to hold on as long as they can but why? For the benefit for themselves is what is made out of that, because your loved ones are holding on for you at some point and not themselves any longer. Aging and death is okay and eliminating aging doesn’t mean we will live forever, it just pushes death further out of the picture created more disadvantages than advantages. Eliminating aging would mean death as a result of old age will no longer be heard of.
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