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One of the consequences of improved medical care is that people are

living longer and life expectancy is increasing.


Do you think the advantages of this development outweigh the
disadvantages?

Healthcare has been some of societys highest priorities, and this pays off with a
steady, gradual climb in life expectancy. The longer lifespan is often cherished as a
vast improvement in living standards, but this comes with untold risks threatening
to negate the benefits it brings.
It is obvious that improved medical care gives people a longer lifetime, and possibly
a more satisfactory one as well. The age-old complaint that life is too short - that we
cannot do much before old age leaves us powerless is being dealt with. The
average person now has an additional 10 to 20 years in their lives compared to a
century ago, which could be used to pursue their personal interests, take care of
their family, or simply to continue working, contributing more to the common good.
However, a prolonged lifespan may result in a wider generation gap, and ultimately,
isolation for the elder age groups. It is already evident that current differences in
age have caused a range of issues, from minor, petty arguments about everyday
life to overall alienation. The ever-increasing distance between the oldest and the
youngest will only serve to worsen the trend, pushing the elderly further away from
their offsprings.
Furthermore, extended old age might lay additional burden on the societys
economy. While life expectancy has been growing progressively, retirement age has
been consistently pinned down at around 60 65 for most countries. This means
that post-retirement workers aside, the average person is not contributing more, but
consuming more after they retire in many forms, such as pension, insurance or
healthcare itself. To worsen the matter, the elderly are the ones neediest of medical
attention: most illnesses have an increasing likelihood to set in as victims get older.
In short, rising life expectancy can be considered to be beneficial, but only when old
age still means being socially satisfied and not having to rely on others. It might be
wise to create speicific communities for the older; at the same time, the retirement
age needs adjusting to better suit peoples increased longevity.

Over the past 50 years, people have become used to the idea that they will
probably live longer than their grandparents did. However, a longer life is only
desirable if you can look after yourself and be independent, otherwise there can be
disadvantages for everyone.

If you walk into a hospital in my country, you are likely to see a lot more elderly
people than you did in the past. In fact, this is causing significant problems as there
is a shortage of beds. Medical treatment is keeping the elderly alive, but at what
cost to others?

On top of this, one of the biggest medical problems these days is dementia. Even if
old people are still fit, they may not be able to look after themselves. They may
have to live with their children or be cared for in a home, which can be expensive.
Elderly people do not like to be a burden, but their children can feel obliged to care
for them.
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Obviously, not all old people become ill. Those who remain healthy can enjoy a
happy old age as long as they have saved enough money. People are much more
active in their sixties and seventies than they used to be and this can only be a
good thing. They have time to enjoy their retirement and do a range of activities
that they could not do when they were at work. They can also help look after their
grandchildren, which is a great benefit for working parents.
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To sum up, I believe that we should aim to keep people as healthy as possible so
that they can enjoy their old age without having to rely on others. A longer life
expectancy is obviously advantageous, but no one wants to live to be 100 if they
only cause problems for their family and society.