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活得越长 越受罪?(观点 中英对照)
Opinion: Illness and disability inflict no less pain than poverty as life expectations increase


在过去的一个世纪里,随着科学的进步和医疗保健的改善,人类的预期寿命已大大延长。 自 1920 年代以来,随着寿命的显着增加,今天出生的男性可以活 78.9 岁,女性可以活 83.9 岁。 令人欣慰的长寿潮却带来了新的挑战,凸显提高老年生命质量和老龄化健康的重要性。 虽然经济负担能力是寿命延长所面临的主要困难,但在延长的生命岁月里如何确保身心健康却很少受到关注。

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Human life expectancy has dramatically extended as science advances and access to healthcare has improved over the past century. With a significantly increased lifespan since the 1920s, a male born today can live 78.9 years and a female 83.9 years. The longevity boom has brought new challenges, putting quality of life and heathy aging to the front and centre. While financial affordability is a dominating concern over the extended lifespan, how to ensure physical and mental well-being into the extra years of life has received much less public attention.

虽然人类的预期寿命有所增加,但老年人的生活质量却跟不上寿命的延长。 我们现在在健康状况不佳的情况下度过的生命岁月比历史上任何时候都长。 根据麦肯锡健康研究所的数据,人们大约有 50% 的时间处于健康状况不佳的状态,其中 12% 处于健康状况极为不佳的状态。 在人类患病时间比例保持不变的情况下,寿命的延长只意味着我们会有更长的生命岁月在从失能到痴呆等各种身心疾病中痛苦挣扎。 虽然加拿大人在 2019 年的寿命为 82.9 岁,但可享受的无疾病折磨的平均寿命仅为 71.3 岁,即一名普通加拿大人士将在健康状况不佳的情况下度过长达10多年之久的生命岁月。



While human life expectancy has increased, elders’ living quality does not keep pace with the increased longevity. We are now spending more time in poor health than ever in history. According to Mckensy Health Institute, people spend about 50 percent of their lives in less than good health, including 12 percent in poor health. With the portion of humans suffering from illness unchanged, the longer life expectancy would only mean we live more years of our lives struggling with physical or mental disabilities – from immobility to dementia. While Canadian’s lifespan was 82.9 years in 2019, the expected year without the pain of disability was only 71.3, indicating that an average Canadian would spend over ten years of life in poor health.

在老去的过程中,身体疾病和智能丧失会严重损害我们的生活质量。 超过三分之一的美国人在 80 多岁时患有痴呆症,而在 75 岁及以上的人群中不能独立生活者极为普遍。 在加拿大,超过 80% 的养老院的老者在穿衣和洗澡等基本生活功能方面不能自理,大约 90% 的养老院居民在行走时需要监护和协助。许多加国人士都很难接受 困扰疗养院长者的严峻现实,在 2020 年的一项民意调查中,44% 的参与者表示他们最害怕在长期护理院中度过余生。 美国最近的一项研究发现,美国人将大脑衰退和行动不便作为与老去相关的最大的恐惧和焦虑,超过了对财务资源不足的担忧。



Physical disability and mental decline undermine the quality of life as individuals age. Over one–third of Americans suffer from dementia in their 80s, while impaired physical mobility is prevalent among those aged 75 and older. In Canada, Over 80% of nursing home residents need help with essential life functions such as dressing and bathing, and about 90% of residents need assistance or supervision for walking. The grim reality gripping nursing home elders has traumatized many Canadians, with 44% of participants in a 2020 poll saying they dreaded living out the rest of their days in long-term care. A recent American study found that Americans put mental degression and the loss of mobility as the top fears associated with getting older, exeeding the worries over insufficient financial resources.

的确,疾病和残疾给老年人带来的困境和痛苦不亚于贫困。 然而,社会似乎更热衷于向老年人的财务困境敲响警钟,而对迟暮之年长者的健康危机却缺乏足够警觉和防范。 许多研究都集中在老年贫困问题及其对社会的影响。 来自金融行业的大量材料推广各种能将投资延长,覆盖退休岁月的财务策略; 一系列政府计划为老年贫困人口提供现金福利,但却未能在促进健康或疾病预防方面下足功夫。 与此同时,医疗保健系统将大部分资源用于在老年人患病后提供治疗,而不是首先倡导那些能让他们保持健康,避免疾病的良好生活方式及措施和手段。



Indeed, disease and disabilities inflict seniors no less misery and pain than poverty. However, society has been more keen on sounding alarm bells over elders’ financial troubles during rainy days than their health woes in their golden years. Many research studies have focused on elders’ poverty and its impacts, while copious marketing materials advocate for financial strategies that can extend the investments into retirement. A series of government programs provide cash benefits to the aged poor but not enough health promotion or disease prevention efforts. Meanwhile, the healthcare system has devoted most resources to treating older people for illnesses as they arise rather than promoting lifestyles that keep them healthy in the first place.

在缺乏政府和机构组织关注的情况下,健康维护在于各人的自律和努力。投入时间和精力对健康进行早期投资,制定并严格遵守健康提升计划并建立健康的生活方式是关键。我 90 岁的母亲的人生依然丰富多彩,她做家务和烹饪的同时还从事艺术和文化活动,为社会奉献着一份微薄之力。 她将自己晚年的健康归功于她几十年来所坚持的良好饮食习惯和日复一日,持之以恒的身体锻炼。她耄耋之年所享受的高质量生活就是她为维护健康所做的投资之回报的完美体现,这是任何金融产品都无法提供的。



The lack of institutional and government actions prompts individuals to embrace health stewardship, starting their health investment early and committing to a health journey with time, effort and discipline. My 90-year-old mother still lives a rich and productive life, embracing art and cultural activities and performing house chores and cooking. She credits her well-being to her adherence to a nutritious diet and a stringent exercise routine built over decades. Her quality of life as a nonagenarian is a testament to the spectacular returns of her health investments that no financial products can bring.

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