Our cremation services, which are available throughout the area of Mount Vernon, WA, are comprehensive to meet all your funeral needs. We don’t often think about life expectancies until we near the normal end of our lives or when someone we know and/or love dies. But life expectancies have varied widely throughout human history.
As far as we know, the person who holds the record for living the longest life ever is Methuselah, who is recorded in Genesis 5:27 as living for 969 years. In fact, the saying “as old as Methuselah,” refers to someone or something that is very old. However, even among Methuselah’s contemporaries, life expectancies were exceptionally long.
However, by the time that Greece and Rome became world powers, the life expectancy had diminished to a mere average of 30 years for both men and women. Historically, women have generally had slightly longer life expectancies than men, probably because men traditionally fought wars – in which they were likely to be killed – while the biggest threat of mortality in women was in childbirth.
By the time of the Middle Ages, the average life expectancy for people without means was less than 30 years. However, for people who were wealthy, the average life expectancy was 50. Much of this disparity between the two classes of people was related to sanitation and living conditions.
After the Renaissance in the 16th century, life expectancies around the world began to slowly rise. This was directly related to scientific discoveries about how diseases spread and a slow, and sometimes faltering, effort to improve living conditions in the civilized world.
By the turn of the 20th century, the average life expectancy had declined again, though, to just 31 years old. By the middle of the 1900’s, the life expectancy had once again risen, but only to a global average of 48 years.
Beginning in the 1950’s, though, life expectancies around the world began to dramatically rise. This directly correlated to a seemingly endless serious of medical breakthroughs and inventions that could prolong life. By the 21st century, the global average life expectancy for men was 75 and for women was 78.
However, although people were living longer, there were sacrifices for more time. Many of the medical advances and discoveries could promise a greater quantity of life, but they could not guarantee that that extra time would be quality time.
For example, as life expectancies increased, so did serious age-related medical issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. Some of these are part of the natural aging process (the organs of the body wearing down and wearing out), while others, such as the neurological degeneration seen in various types of dementia, has causes that are related, not to age, but environment, lifestyle, and genetics.
However, in the last few years, the average life expectancy is once again on the decline, especially in the United States. The age group in America that is experiencing the highest mortality rates is adults between the ages of 25 to 64.
There are three culprits for this sudden decrease in the overall life expectancy in this country. One is the opioid crisis, which has led to a surge in deaths by overdose. Another is the sharp rise in suicides in the last 10 years, an increase that has been tied indirectly to the Great Recession of 2008. The third culprit is earlier organ-system diseases, which are linked to increased obesity rates, stress, and substance abuse.
If you’d like to learn about cremation services around the area of Mount Vernon, WA, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Moles Farewell Tributes & Crematory – Bayview Chapel can help. You can come to our funeral home at 2465 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA 98229 or you can contact us today at (360) 733-0510.