Gone and going too soon



Worrying trend of men and women dying in the prime of life

WHILE reading the newspaper on April 16, 2021, I found out that eight death notices were published that day.
Of course not all of these deaths occurred on the same days, however, what interested me was that some of these people died at a very young age.
That should be a big concern for PNG; a long term one.
Many people are dying before reaching retirement age of 65 years.
Even a bigger concern, and a national one at that, is that people holding high positions in the public and private sectors are dying in their prime years, much earlier, even before retirement age.
This a very serious trend because losing human resources like that is a big problem in the long run for the nation. Think about all the doctors, lawyers, judges, company CEOs, directors of organisations and senior managers of companies and young people dying so early.
Somehow, I keep thinking about this situation all the time.
How can this trend be slowed down or reversed? Consider the island of Okinawa. They have many elderly people who are centenarians and are still leading very active lives.
Why can’t Papua New Guineans live a little long that they are doing at the moment? Papua New Guineans should try to live their lives to the fullest, ensuring that the lifestyle they live is focused on living a long and fruitful life.
Papua New Guinea has a population of mostly young people and it has been reported that the average age of the population is 22 years. That is quite alarming. We do not have many older people because the average lifespan of a man in PNG is 56 years and for women it is 58 years.
PNG will be 47 years old this year and it should try to raise the average age. It means an all-out effort by the relevant national authorities to education our nation about general health.
It seems no one is really concerned about changing the situation.
A decade ago, I did a research on the deaths of men and women in my local church and found out that one of them reached the age of 70 years before they died. These people died between 2000 and 2010. Among them were very promising Papua New Guineans. About two or three of them were in the “who’s who” in PNG.
These men all died before they turned 70. Being very strong Christians, they would have read what the Bible says about our life spans.
“The days of our years are three score and 10 (70) and if by reason of strength, it be four score (80) years, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” – Psalm 90:10 (KJV)
I regard this passage as fundamental to the average lifespan of humans.
If every person lived a normal life on earthy, they should reach 70 or even 80 years.
Unfortunately, no one wants to live a normal life these days. Everyone wants to live like the “Joneses” or better than the Joneses, which is quite often a lifestyle that is not real. A lifestyle one cannot afford. A lifestyle lived without any consideration or protection from developing lifestyle diseases.
Quite often when a person finds himself or herself withy a lifestyle disease, he or she finds it difficult to accpt it and therefore hesitates to seek proper medical attention until it is too late.
Many lifestyle disease are curable or preventable if detected early. However, quite often people suffering from these conditions refuse to get medical attention until their condition worsen then it is too late and they die.
When a person dies, the relatives of those who know the decased say that the death was untimely, but in fact it is the consequence of the lifestyle this person had lived.
There is no excuse for any to die before they reach the age of 70 years or better. The only reason for anyone dying early would be because of murder, accident or suicide.
Lifestyle diseases can be cured if detected early. Unfortunately, Papua New Guineans die early in their prime, especially those holding high and prominent positions in the public and private sectors. These people find themselves under a lot of pressure at work and not being able to protect themselves from lifestyle diseases.
Quite often for these people, work is more important that their health, until the sickness becomes too much to bear then they succumb to disease. By then it is too late to fix the damage done.
Retirement age in PNG is 65 years and first five years after retirement should be a time of planning for how you will spend a fruitful, active and enjoyable life after retirement. A full life to 70 years and beyond.
Unfortunately, many live their final years in retirement either sick in hospital or no enjoying retirement because of unplanned activities which would have reduced their lives to total confinement at home.
Many men especially, have no plans for life after retirement, so they gradually find themselves not being able not being able to enjoy retirement.
Sime find themselves spending much of their retirement money on hospital bills as a consequences of careless lifestyles all those years before.
Today, medical bills of say K60,000 to K100,000 here or overseas are not uncommon.
Every day the two dailies publish death and memoriam notices of people dying in recent days. Most of these people would not have reached retirement age before they died.
From newspaper obituaries over of the period from April 2021 to January 2022, it was established that a high percentage of the deceased were aged between 51 and 65 years, years before the actual retirement age, even more so the biblical number of ‘days apportioned to man.’
For instance, in the April 19, 2021 issue of The National, there were seven deaths reported. The oldest was 65 years and the youngest 45 years. So how can this national slow the trend of people dying before reaching retirement age?
As a Christian I believe that God is an orderly God and he has a perfect plan for our individual lives on this ear. God confirms this through the Bible.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
He provided everything we need to exist in life in orderly manner. When we are not organised, our lives will be in shambles.
People are God’s most special creation. God breathed life into the man… and the ability to choose between right and wrong.
For instance, he gives us 24 hours every day without fail and there are no strings tied. He gave men a gift of free choice to do whatever he wants, including the lifestyle he chooses to live. However, God’s word is very clear with regards to the proper way to live this earth so that our lives are long, happy and fruitful.
The 24-hours he gives us each day can be equally divided into three eight-hour segments: Eight hours of sleep (rest); eight hours of work; and eight hours of leisure (your own). Of course we make our own adjustments with these timings to suit our own needs.
About 20 years ago, a fried taught me the eight basic laws of health and he gave the acronym GODSPLAN.
1. G is for Godly trust – trust God for everything
2. O is for Open air – set out in the open air more often
3. D is for Daily exercise – vital muscles to be toned daily
4. S is for Sunsine – sunshine is healthy
5. P is for Proper rest – the body needs proper rest – sleep.
6. L is for Lots of water – the body needs water daily
7. A is for Always temperance – so no to drugs, alcohol and smoking
8. N is for Nutrition – eating properly – eat foods that will keep the body healthy
These are very basic health laws but paying attention to them can help us live a very healthy lifestyle.
Sadly, many of us run to the supermarkets and we forget our locally grown vegetable markets.
We frequent fast food outlets for quick meals because we don’t have time to prepare our own meals. Some may not know how to cook their own meals. This is a recipe for disaster and this is where one’s problem begins.

  • The author is a retired banker who has been involved in church work and for a time was a health volunteer helping to administer treatment to TB patients under the directly obeserved treatment programme .

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