Getting older means going downhill. Hearing goes, sight worsens, memory stutters, everything takes twice as long. We head inexorably towards Shakespeare’s “second childishness and mere oblivion/Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”.
Or do we? Read More →
Is exercise worth the risk? We all know it’s good for us, especially as we get older. We need physical and mental stimulation, and as Dr Miriam Stoppard confirmed recently, table tennis is a great way to get both in a social setting. (Other sports are available, apparently!)
But it’s not without risk. Read More →
One of the joys of old age is that you can get away with bad behaviour. Or so they say. You can speak your mind. You don’t have to bother with the niceties.
One of my fears about getting older is that I might say the first thing that comes into my head, and what if it’s bad?
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GP, writer and broadcaster Margaret McCartney‘s book Living with Dying is an informed, passionate call for health and social care services to make death a better experience for older people and those around them. Read More →
Did you know that our brains can still create new cells, even in later life? That there’s a scientific reason why older people forget what they came in here for, but continue to get wiser? Or that there really is a “magic wand” for the brain?
These are among the fascinating facts in the late Barbara Strauch’s book The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain: Discover the surprising talents of the middle-aged mind* (middle-age being 40 – 65). It’s a readable, layperson’s survey of research about the ageing brain, though the science has moved on since its 2011 publication.
Yes, certain abilities decline in later life, such as our memory for names or being hazy about the when and where of events. But our middle-aged brains are surprisingly competent and talented, indeed ‘our ability to make accurate judgments about people, about jobs, about finances – about the world around us – grows stronger’. Age improves our ability to see the big picture, and that’s not the only positive. Read More →