The ageing process

Professor O’Neill, a consultant geriatrician, has written an excellent handbook on the myriad aspects of ageing in the largely medical sense. But out of some 380 pages little more than two are devoted mental and social activity. Some years ago the director of a nursing home remarked to us that it was striking that those who had some sort of faith often adapted better than those that didn’t. Religion is an aspect of social and metal activity. So the mind – and spirit – ought to have had a larger place. There is nothing about modern media such as computers or Iphones. Yet these provide contact, books to read, projects such as family research to follow up, so that even the house-bound can live a multifaceted life. Life is not all about exercise and diet; it is about our brains as well as our bowels. Dr O’Neill emphasises that if we don’t use it, we lose it. And that applies to our brains as well. Encouraging the elderly to continue reading – and praying – is vital.