A trend I've encountered recently when discussing things like city planning, the aging population, transportation, hospitals and such, is for some people (who are still young and healthy) to pipe up with something along the lines of "well if people would only eat healthier and exercise, they wouldn't have these problems into their old age."
I came across this attitude when discussing the problem of hospitals being filled to overflowing with elderly people who need medical intervention but the system doesn't support the sheer volume. And oftentimes, an elderly person stays in hospital needlessly because they have nobody to care for them at home and there is a shortage of respite homes for them to go to. (There was an article in the paper about this). I was discussing it on Facebook when several people (30's to 40's) posted with an indignant attitude about how if only everyone would eat healthy and exercise, they wouldn't be getting sick and immobile in their old age, and dying of heart disease, stroke and cancer. I maintain that you may stay healthy longer but eventually old age is going to get you, no matter what, and that it's probably going to be one of those three things that kills you, even if it's later in life.
Then yesterday on a forum some people were discussing transportation planning and accessibility issues. Someone pointed out that many older people are no longer able to drive, cannot walk far, and therefore face issues with isolation. Stairs were also mentioned somewhere in there.
Someone who I know to be about 50 years old, retorted,
"I eat a healthy diet, walk every where, and do not use prescription medications; therefore, I plan on being able to use stairs, walk on hilly ground, and drive my car well into old age."
Don't you think this is a rather premature assumption? As well as kind of a rude attitude towards those who do find themselves with mobility issues and health problems as they age? I just find it really rude to get on one's high horse about eating healthy blah blah blah when discussing the problems of the aged. Besides, what someone considers healthy now may not match what was considered healthy 50 years ago, and 50 years from now the definition of "eating healthy" will likely be different again.