Caroline Yongue was recently interviewed for an article published by the Mountain XPress. Here is the start of the article.
Spoiler alert: You’re going to die. You already know that, but how much preparation for the inevitable have you made?
Living in Buncombe County, we can expect to live for 79.2 years, according to the local Health & Human Services Department. In a county with a quarter-million people, about 2,315 pass annually, an average based on 11,579 deaths in the five-year period from 2008–12, per a study by the department. The top three causes of death during those five years was cancer (2,563), heart disease (2,513) and chronic lower respiratory disease (784).
Last year was harder on us, though: 3,564 people died in Buncombe, the deputy registrar reports.
About 19 percent of Buncombe’s residents are 65 or older, according to 2015 U.S. census data — or 48,103 elders among a total population of 253,178. Of course, 65 is by no means the beginning of the end, nor does death target only the aged. In the five-year period covered by the above-cited study, we lost 170 people between the ages of 20 and 39, and 1,356 people between the ages of 40 and 64. And in 2015, we lost 176 people between the ages of 15 and 44 and 648 people between the ages of 45 and 64.
Given the ubiquitous and unavoidable nature of death, it seems that it should be an event we’d all plan for. But is it?