so the slowly-sickening cells live longer. a new boon to geriatric medicine, a new torpedo in the side of Medicare and Social Security.
No. This could allow cells copy themselves without replication errors for more generations. This is not "preserving" cells that are growing sicker; the existing cell is copying itself, and having a longer telomere means the succeeding generations are protected longer from errors. From one of the first links I googled (http://www.tasciences.com/what-is-a-telomere/):
"Many scientific studies have shown a strong connection between short telomeres and cellular aging."