If you're one of the ten million displaced people in the war-ravaged Middle East, those under bombardment in Syria or those starving to death in Yemen or Southern Sudan life is inconceivably miserable.

It puts into some sort of perspective the debate we've been having over the past week about raising the age of the pension in this cradle-to-grave country from 65 to 67, starting in 20 years' time.

And it brings into focus the massive ageing population which will double to more than a million over the next decade or so and what that means for the other things we tend to take for granted in this country, like health care.

Health care this year is expected to gobble up more than sixteen billion dollars while the pension will take around twelve billion out of the taxpayers' purse. That margin with people living longer in the coming years will grow and that's where the real debate should be, not about whether we'll have to wait another two years before we get the final benefit.


And that's the trouble with the health budget, there are no easy answers with all of us expecting care when we fall ill and for some the perspective is that the system's failed them.

That was certainly the case of the Vietnamese immigrant family, who came to this country many years ago and run the cafeteria just down the road from Parliament that's frequented by a number of politicians, from the Speaker down.

The parents in their 60s daily work behind the counter along with some of their adult children. A clot was discovered behind the mother's ear and she was due for laparoscopic surgery next month and was told to notify her health provider if she suffered from a headache or dizziness in the meantime.

Too late, she collapsed and died, her husband sobbed from behind the counter that morning.

Why couldn't she have received the treatment when the clot was discovered, the family wanted to know? There were other priorities, they were told, cases that needed more urgent attention.

There are of course many cases like that but that's never going to change the perspective for this family that the system failed them.

There are no easy answers, but sometimes it's worth taking a pause and putting our lives into perspective.