What does the future hold?
My husband and I have reached that age when we start planning for the end. We have witnessed the deaths of brothers and sisters, and many friends. Some passed easily, and some, I am sad to say, did not. The worse was a brother who had a son that insisted that the Doctors do everything to "save" his father.
The amount of medication, assisted breathing, heart stimulation, feeding tubes, etc. that can be done now to prolong life is unbelievable. I don't think that most people understand how much will be done when they tell the doctors that they want everything possible done to save the loved one.
I think we are beginning to see a trend where people are beginning to refuse certain treatments that will merely postpone death a short while. We have both refused to take pneumonia vaccine for this reason, pneumonia is one of the easier ways to go.
I hope when our time comes, our children know us well enough to know that it OK to just let us go.
My mother was in a Nursing Home with severe Alzheimers for several years. Her behavior was a big problem. Sometimes she even required physical restraint as she was quite healthy and strong. She fell and broke her hip. The doctor told me that the mortality rate for someone her age was quite high. I told him that if she got pneumonia or a blood clot, then I wanted him to just let her go and if he wasn't comfortable with that, I would get another surgeon.
Late that night, the phone rang. It was the surgeon. He felt that he just had to thank me for making that decision. So many families didn't even want to talk about it and it was left up to the doctor to decide. It was a difficult thing for him. She did develop pneumonia and died quietly and easily within a couple of days. Her minister told me at her funeral, "Your mother died a long time ago. It was time for her body to go to."