Why I Hope to Die at 75

The author discusses why he doesn't want to live past 75. He is currently healthy, but doesn't want to live many years disabled and infirm.

Although he didn’t die from the heart attack, no one would say he is living a vibrant life. When he discussed it with me, my father said, “I have slowed down tremendously. That is a fact. I no longer make rounds at the hospital or teach.” Despite this, he also said he was happy.

The author doesn't believe in assisted suicide, but he intends to refuse medical treatments that would extend his life past 75, including cancer screenings, cancer treatment, treatment for pneumonia, flu shots, etc.

Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either. Today, when the doctor recommends a test or treatment, especially one that will extend our lives, it becomes incumbent upon us to give a good reason why we don’t want it.

At 75 and beyond, I will need a good reason to even visit the doctor and take any medical test or treatment, no matter how routine and painless. And that good reason is not “It will prolong your life.” I will stop getting any regular preventive tests, screenings, or interventions. I will accept only palliative—not curative—treatments if I am suffering pain or other disability.

In terms of government policy, he advocates for research into extending quality of life and treating chronic conditions, and doesn't think it's valuable to extend life expectancy past 75.

The author wrote this at age 57, in 2014. Today he is 63 years old.