“We don’t really save lives, we push off death,” says Peter Saul. Lives saved through preventive measures, in their 40s and 50s, inevitably return to their physicians in old age. Saul reports that 6 of 10 will die at a ripe old age of dwindling capacity. Simple frailty is becoming the most predictable cause of death. Saul says that the increase in longevity unfortunately doesn’t really mean more youth, it means more old age.
A 4,000 person survey showed that only 1 in 100 plan for what should happen if their heart stops beating. Only 1 in 500 have a plan should they become seriously ill. How we die lives on in the people around us. Dying in intensive care, if we have a choice, is far more stressful to our loved ones than dying at home. Says Saul, “Let’s improve the ways we die.”