We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The best way to go, many feel, is to get pneumonia in old age and to die quietly, peacefully. Most are not so lucky and some darn doc will try to treat your pneumonia at age 92 to extend your life for a few weeks in the ICU on a respirator. However, for many, if you outlive heart disease cancer will get you: Why Everyone Seems to Have Cancer.
We don't call it "dying of old age" anymore because we have much better diagnostic tools. Everybody has to die from something or other.
My Dad had his first heart attack at 32, his second at 45, and his third and last (triple bypass) at 65. He lived to be 80 and died of Esophageal cancer, along with Parkinson's. He never in his life expected to live to be 65, let alone 80. (All of his male relatives, including his father, never made it past 67, and most died in their 50's from arterial diseases of one form or another. He never expected to live long enough to get either Cancer or Parkinson's. But treatments for heart and arterial disease (which runs in the family) had advanced that well. If well you can call it that. In the end, he advocated legalized suicide for terminally ill patients (especially for himself). I have to say, now I do too.
My Dad and Father-in-law both had pacemakers implanted. After watching both of them linger too long, I certainly question the wisdom of some treatments. My father-in-law eventually just quit eating to end it. I suspect my father did, too. I hope the hospital follows my care directive.
Carl Jung once said, "Life is a disease with a very poor prognosis. It lingers on for years and invariably ends in death."
I have a relative who is an ER nurse. She told me hospital staff call pneumonia the "old person's friend." She said the system gradually fills up with C02 until the patient drifts off into death. Both my mother and father died this way.
Cancer is what you die of, if you haven't died of something else first. EVERY man who lives long enough will develop prostate cancer. Every woman who lives long enough will develop ovarian or cervical or breast cancer - or others.
My husband died of pneumonia at 59. He spent two weeks in the ICU, had kidney failure and contracted c-diffile. I wouldn't call it a pleasant death. I sometimes wish that I hadn't taken him into the Emergency room and just let him die at home. Of course, I didn't know that he was going to die when I made that decision.
My Great Aunt died at 90 from a series of strokes.
I never heard her complain about the trials of age. She was always curious about the world and never stopped learning.
I have a fond memory of her sitting up in bed watching baseball in the nursing home. A favorite pastime.
She was stern, well read, disciplined and enjoyed life till the end.
If we had any humanity, we'd set up a system where the terminal could push the plunger. The long lingering death isn't something to wish upon anyone. My brother went in 11 weeks from first major sign to death from liver disease. Mostly in pain except for the last two weeks as the poisons built up. In the end, he didn't use his gun but he had planned.
You forgot stroke. Many elderly die from strokes...if it is a severe one, I think it would be relatively pleasant. Instant death, more or less.
My stepfather had a pretty serious stroke about 7 or 8 years ago. He did not speak of any pain at all. Only an awareness that 'something wasn't right.' He took an aspirin and called my mother, who recognized his slurred speech and got him to the hospital within the hour.