As any health professional should know, approximately 75% of the more than 6,000

people in the United States who die on an average day are 65 years old or older. The

deaths of these people are not caused by old age per se; that is, no genetically

programmed clock within them automatically stops because their allotted time on earth

has expired. Approximately two-thirds of those who die do so because of heart disease,

cancer, or stroke-the three leading causes of death in older Americans. Many others die

accidentally or violently, but the great majority die of one or more illnesses.