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Ageing and medicine: quality versus quantity?

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Ageing and medicine: quality versus quantity?

Filmed at the Battle of Ideas, panelists iron out the wrinkles in the ageing debate. We are living longer, but what about the quality of our extended lives? Average life expectancy has extended by as much as 30 years in developed countries during the 20th century. While this statistic might be seen as cause for celebration, society seems ambivalent. Our doubts are not simply caused by headline scaremongering about massed ranks of the elderly being a drain on pension funds and the NHS. What constitutes ‘quality of life’? When poet Jenny Joseph wrote, ‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple…spend my pension on brandy,’ she captured the pleasurable prospect of growing old disgracefully. Is this irresponsible?

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Related topics: Debates, Science & Progress, Social Change

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Percy said:

Virginia Ironside is not an Agony Aunt, she is an Aunt in Agony, agony about ageing. If she follows her own logic she would top herself. I think an ageing population is a sign of success and we should celebrate living longer, even disgracefully if we want to. If were worried about resources and working to pay for our ageing society we should look to making our society more productive of wealth. Funny that these days some see old people as a burden whilst the even more dependent young are seen positively and worth doting on. Why is all the knowledge, experience and capacities of the older generation so undervalued today?

Sue Chambers said:

David Oliver seems like the good guy here- so sort the NHS out David attitudes to the elderly suck and everyone I know with an elderly relative is having a real nightmare getting their relatives healthcare taken seriously or even getting referred to specialists. I agree re Virginia – she really does seem to be rather pathetic- I’m old and a burden for the young- get over yourself Mrs. Not sure about the women in the audience who says we should all work till we die although its looking like we may have to.

Marie said:

The battle of the agony aunts it seems – I’m shocked by Virginia Ironside she is appalling -I’m amazed she can refer to old people like trees that need culling to allow new growth. Irma Kurtz on the other hand simply rocks in this. I’m looking forward to rocking the boat in old age and bring on the champagne, brandy and good life.