A Dying Game

What better time than now, in the dog days of summer, but to turn thoughts on longevity to the subject of death. Longevity is a promise with diverse realities for rich and for poor, but it’s a dying game all the same. A “careers of the future” list in the mid-90’s put death related businesses in the top 10 by 2026.

But our view of funerals and burials has changed over the last 15 years and how we see these as a business continues to morph based on societal attitudes. Envisioning the promise of our longevity in 2026, along with more 85 year olds than ever, there will also be increased deaths per year. Not all of those older people, but certainly greater numbers than today.

We now talk of death care and “end of life” services in a unified sentence. It’s a more confronting vocabulary in the longevity discussion. But if you want to modify that “careers list” then let’s project – where are the broader opportunities for future work in this area? That’s not to say it’s all about more focused professional development for medical and health care professionals.

Could basic course material in high schools include a segment on aging – gerontology, caring and dying? Maybe these courses would need to contain experiential learning, for as I’ve heard it said lately, some younger people have limited direct experience relating to much older people. Just think how grim the avoidance of facing the dying game might be without that understanding.

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