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COVID Quality of Life Calculus
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My parents are in their mid-80's, with various health problems, and clearly in the highest-risk COVID mortality demographic . Virus notwithstanding, both of their life expectancies are maybe another 5 years or so.

Before the shutdown, they were fully aware of their mortality and were making the most of their time -- traveling, cruising, visiting grandkids, etc.

Like everyone else, life is quite a bit different for them now. They've been fully locked down since April, basically living as shut-ins. Their granddaughter is getting married in Sept (virus permitting), and they'll likely skip the wedding, even if travel and gatherings are allowed by then. (As an aside, yes, I'm fully aware that the bug is likely to postpone or cancel the wedding plans regardless...)

So, I find myself wondering what I would do in those shoes. With, say, 5 years of my life remaining, and the threat of an untimely and unpleasant death from the virus looming, would I spend, perhaps, a quarter of my remaining time shut in in the hopes of eking out a couple more years? Would I just say f*** it and spend the time left enjoying life? Strike some sort of middle ground?

What say you?


"I have sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from these lands."
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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Isn’t the question really about risk to others, not the risk to your parents?

Each of us can assume risk to our own health without a lot of moral trouble. My 75 year old dad is currently getting altitude sickness and stumbling along a trail up granite peak in the Beartooth Mountains. My mom asked me if it was a good idea. I said, Yes! I told her she should go along too so that she can have fun and nurse my dad back to health after my brothers carry him down to camp on a make-shift stretcher. As far as I know, she went too. What an adventure!

If your parents will potentially spread covid to others during their adventures, that’s where the moral trouble is. I guess the type of adventure matters.
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [Calamityjane88] [ In reply to ]
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Calamityjane88 wrote:
Isn’t the question really about risk to others, not the risk to your parents?

Each of us can assume risk to our own health without a lot of moral trouble. My 75 year old dad is currently getting altitude sickness and stumbling along a trail up granite peak in the Beartooth Mountains. My mom asked me if it was a good idea. I said, Yes! I told her she should go along too so that she can have fun and nurse my dad back to health after my brothers carry him down to camp on a make-shift stretcher. As far as I know, she went too. What an adventure!

If your parents will potentially spread covid to others during their adventures, that’s where the moral trouble is. I guess the type of adventure matters.


Thanks for your thoughts.

With my "f*** it" option, I was envisioning getting out and doing stuff as permitted. I wasn't thinking of brazenly taking risks or flaunting rules/laws/guidelines to the extent that others might be put at risk. Though, maybe that would be another, more extreme, option...

Right now, they're taking extreme precautions, above and beyond those recommended. If they went out and lived more or less normally (as allowed/recommended), I don't think they'd pose any more of a risk to others than anyone else going about their business.


"I have sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from these lands."
Last edited by: MOP_Mike: Jul 4, 20 9:49
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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My grandmother heard things like that - about life expectancy of 5 more years when she was 80. She just turned 95 this year and is still going strong.

Given my family's apparent longevity, I'd probably take a cautious approach. And with the whole world focused on it, I think a vaccine will succeed.
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [spudone] [ In reply to ]
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spudone wrote:
My grandmother heard things like that - about life expectancy of 5 more years when she was 80. She just turned 95 this year and is still going strong.

Given my family's apparent longevity, I'd probably take a cautious approach. And with the whole world focused on it, I think a vaccine will succeed.

Hence the calculus. There are a lot of unknown variables...

They could succumb to the virus even while shutdown.

They could live only another year regardless of what they do.

They could live another 15 years.

They could live for 5 years, but spend a quarter of that time shut in and waiting for a vaccine.


"I have sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from these lands."
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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MOP_Mike wrote:
Calamityjane88 wrote:
Isn’t the question really about risk to others, not the risk to your parents?

Each of us can assume risk to our own health without a lot of moral trouble. My 75 year old dad is currently getting altitude sickness and stumbling along a trail up granite peak in the Beartooth Mountains. My mom asked me if it was a good idea. I said, Yes! I told her she should go along too so that she can have fun and nurse my dad back to health after my brothers carry him down to camp on a make-shift stretcher. As far as I know, she went too. What an adventure!

If your parents will potentially spread covid to others during their adventures, that’s where the moral trouble is. I guess the type of adventure matters.


Thanks for your thoughts.

With my "f*** it" option, I was envisioning getting out and doing stuff as permitted. I wasn't thinking of brazenly taking risks or flaunting rules/laws/guidelines to the extent that others might be put at risk. Though, maybe that would be another, more extreme, option...

Right now, they're taking extreme precautions, above and beyond those recommended. If they went out and lived more or less normally (as allowed/recommended), I don't think they'd pose any more of a risk to others than anyone else going about their business.

Here’s another thought: these restrictions have helped re-acquaint some people with “quieter” diversions. I love that I drive way less. A part of me is really happy by scarcity in the grocery stores. It makes my day to come home & tell the kids that they can’t have something because it wasn’t available. We sit around our fire pit and play cards instead of going out. I kind of love it.

Maybe your parents could make a “pod” with some special people for games & fun.
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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My parents, mid to late 70's reasonable health. Both likely to be taken out by a massive cardiac event more than anything. Maybe a late cancer but approaching 80, something will get you.

We, my wife and kids, and they have been locked down. France let up about 3 weeks ago. We've eaten out once a week, kids are meeting friends, done some outdoor socialising.

This weekend we're away in avignon, hotel, dinner out. Everyone is clearly far more aware of their proximity to others.

We will return to the UK to see family. My parents are happy for us to stay with them. My inlaws not at all.

The biggest issue for my mother has been the not seeing grandkids.

She reads to mine for an hour a day on Skype, teaches my eldest reading and writing in English but we will go when we can.

I think I'm at the stage where short of a massive uncontrolled outbreak I'm up for it and my parents have been itching to travel. They'd have come here, quarantined in my house for 2 weeks and gone home and been happy to do the same.

If I was healthy, didn't have symptoms and felt I could responsibly do shit. I'd do it. No question.
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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Depending on how widespread covid gets, maybe they decide to only see people (family) who had it already and recovered - as a low risk compromise.

Everyone has a different threshold for personal risk, though. I don't think it breaks down to a one-size-fits-all equation.
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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Your parents are very smart, and have a full lifetime of experience. They are doing the exact right thing for them, and for others. I wouldnt question their judgement in this matter, with all the unknowns presented here, the one known is that one or both would probably die a horrible death right now if they contracted it..That is what is driving their decision, and I for one applaud that. My in laws are doing the exact same thing, even though they are deeply in the MAGA group. Self preservation is a very strong overriding motivator, even when you are old. You have precious little time left, being locked down with all the convinces that we have is not the end of the world..
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [monty] [ In reply to ]
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monty wrote:
Your parents are very smart, and have a full lifetime of experience. They are doing the exact right thing for them, and for others. I wouldnt question their judgement in this matter, with all the unknowns presented here, the one known is that one or both would probably die a horrible death right now if they contracted it..That is what is driving their decision, and I for one applaud that. My in laws are doing the exact same thing, even though they are deeply in the MAGA group. Self preservation is a very strong overriding motivator, even when you are old. You have precious little time left, being locked down with all the convinces that we have is not the end of the world..

Interesting perspective. Thanks.

I think you're right about that self-preservation instinct being an overriding consideration.

I'd quibble with your "*probably* die a horrible death right now" assessment though. Even in their risk group, they would both *probably* survive if they contracted it, albeit likely with some long-lasting complications.

Maybe I'm just reading you and Jane incorrectly, but I get the feeling that you're both concerned that their possible actions would pose a risk to others somehow. What additional risk does an 80+ YO pose to others that a younger person does not with the same activities? (I suppose the 80 YO is more likely to need intervention from the health care system, and so could pose additional risk to healthcare personnel...)


"I have sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from these lands."
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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My father retired at 56 expecting a long life and died of cancer at 63

Taken to a logical extreme one might think we’re all gonna die anyway and there’s no guarantee so F*** it

While a covid death may not be likely for us, for an 80 year old the mortality is very high relatively. Even if statistically unlikely it’s guaranteed to be very lonely.
Last edited by: ChrisM: Jul 4, 20 11:12
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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What additional risk does an 80+ YO pose to others that a younger person does not with the same activities? (I suppose the 80 YO is more likely to need intervention from the health care system, and so could pose additional risk to healthcare personnel...) //

You asked and answered your own question, seems pretty obvious that the 80+ year olds are most certainly going to interact with the medical community, whereas most under 40/50 folks will ride this out at home. And being that they are 80 and have underlying conditions, there is a very high likelihood that one or both get seriously ill, and end up on a ventilator. Yes, the numbers say they could survive that, but that process in of itself, would not be a desired outcome either. Like I said, they have seen the landscape on this thing, and for them, it is pretty barren, no real green pastures on any of the forks in the road.


I myself have some better potential outcomes to add to my possibility list, but pretty much go down the same road as they are, with a few minor modifications.
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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The cost/benefit analysis of taking risks vs. enjoying oneself/ aren't that simple. My 94 year old mom just spent a month quarantined at my house (w/grandkids), we went on drives and walks and taught how to more fully connect with friends and relatives. We busted her out of her lockdown in assisted living. There really wasn't any shift in risk, though most of her peers have become complete shut-ins. Now, a wedding with ~100 people from all over the place would be an entirely different proposition. We are on "shutdown" yet go on plenty of excursions and have plenty of "socially distant" interactions. I guess that is the middle ground (for us).
Last edited by: oldandslow: Jul 4, 20 13:06
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [monty] [ In reply to ]
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monty wrote:
...I myself have some better potential outcomes to add to my possibility list, but pretty much go down the same road as they are, with a few minor modifications.

I think that for someone with at least 10+ years of life expectancy left, that a "hunker down and wait it out" strategy makes sense.

I'm not sure what my thought process might be in my 80's -- Heck, 30 years ago, I couldn't imagine myself in my 50's. That self-preservation instinct you mentioned might kick in hard. But, at some age it looks analogous to the hypothetical guy who has some terminal disease with a year to live. Does he spend that time on his bucket list, or spend it hooked up to machines to buy a few more days?


"I have sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from these lands."
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [oldandslow] [ In reply to ]
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oldandslow wrote:
The cost/benefit analysis of taking risks vs. enjoying oneself/ aren't that simple. My 94 year old mom just spent a month quarantined at my house (w/grandkids), we went on drives and walks and taught how to more fully connect with friends and relatives. We busted her out of her lockdown in assisted living. There really wasn't any shift in risk, though most of her peers have become complete shut-ins. Now, a wedding with ~100 people from all over the place would be an entirely different proposition. We are on "shutdown" yet go on plenty of excursions and have plenty of "socially distant" interactions. I guess that is the middle ground (for us).

That makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, in my parent's case, any activities with their grandkids involves air travel. So finding that middle ground is a bit harder.


"I have sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from these lands."
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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I think that for someone with at least 10+ years of life expectancy left, that a "hunker down and wait it out" strategy makes sense.

But no one knows if they have that 10 years or if they have the 10 years, what those 10 years will look like. I think back to my Dad. I bet that if you had asked him at age 80, would he take 10 more years, but live it with worsening dementia to the point where he often didn’t know people and could not function in his daily life activities. He would have said no way.

clm
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [MOP_Mike] [ In reply to ]
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MOP_Mike wrote:
Calamityjane88 wrote:
Isn’t the question really about risk to others, not the risk to your parents?

Each of us can assume risk to our own health without a lot of moral trouble. My 75 year old dad is currently getting altitude sickness and stumbling along a trail up granite peak in the Beartooth Mountains. My mom asked me if it was a good idea. I said, Yes! I told her she should go along too so that she can have fun and nurse my dad back to health after my brothers carry him down to camp on a make-shift stretcher. As far as I know, she went too. What an adventure!

If your parents will potentially spread covid to others during their adventures, that’s where the moral trouble is. I guess the type of adventure matters.


Thanks for your thoughts.

With my "f*** it" option, I was envisioning getting out and doing stuff as permitted. I wasn't thinking of brazenly taking risks or flaunting rules/laws/guidelines to the extent that others might be put at risk. Though, maybe that would be another, more extreme, option...

Right now, they're taking extreme precautions, above and beyond those recommended. If they went out and lived more or less normally (as allowed/recommended), I don't think they'd pose any more of a risk to others than anyone else going about their business.

What if only one got sick and died. Would the other be miserable for the remaining time on earth? I ask because I lost my father last year. And my mother now hates every day that she has to spend alone... (Sorry to be a downer, I've been dealing with mom all week...)
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Re: COVID Quality of Life Calculus [velocomp] [ In reply to ]
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velocomp wrote:
What if only one got sick and died. Would the other be miserable for the remaining time on earth? I ask because I lost my father last year. And my mother now hates every day that she has to spend alone... (Sorry to be a downer, I've been dealing with mom all week...)

I'm sorry for your loss.

FWIW, in my parents case, I think mom would cope better with the loss of dad than the other way around.

But, they're likely gonna have to face this situation soon anyway, regardless of what happens with the virus.


"I have sworn an oath of solitude until the pestilence is purged from these lands."
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