In the September, 2014 Atlantic, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel explained why he does not want to prolong his life after he is seventy-five years old. See : http://theatln.tc/1wIVYy3 The author who is fifty-seven years old speaks only for himself when he writes:
“…living too long … renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us… We wish our children to remember us in our prime. Active, vigorous, engaged, animated, astute, enthusiastic, funny, warm, loving. Not stooped and sluggish, forgetful and repetitive, constantly asking ‘What did she say?’...”
Dr. Emanuel is not planning to commit suicide at seventy-five or suggesting that anyone else should. What he will do is refuse life-extending tests and treatments once he reaches that age. No more colonoscopies for him!
It’s easy to say at fifty-seven that you don’t want to live past seventy-five. I remember thinking how old sixty-five seemed to me when my parents reached that age. But now at seventy-six, I am still glad to be here. I am glad that I got a knee replaced so I can continue to work out. I am thrilled to see colors more intensely now that my cataracts are gone. Yes, I do want my grandchildren to remember me as an active part of their lives. But I’ll take the chance that they might not because right now we are having so much fun together.
I hope to “live” as long as I am alive – which I hope will be for quite a while.