Tim’s been away this last week on holiday so we’re bringing you an episode from the Matters of Life and Death vault today. There is a looming ‘demographic timebomb’ – a growing mass of elderly and increasingly chronically ill people in many developed nations, expected to place huge strain on public resources. The policy debates around this issue often emphasise the importance of not ‘being a burden’ on others, with some even suggesting there could be a ‘duty to die’ by assisted suicide for those who become old and infirm. Why does our contemporary culture have such a horror of the idea of becoming dependent on our families or the state? And what does the Christian story have to say about the value of dependence versus autonomy, especially as we near the final seasons of our lives? Secular society is leaning towards technology to solve this problem. But can the smart home or robotics really save us from having to care for our elders ourselves? And if this isn’t the whole answer, what does the church have to bring to the table?