Two doctors attempt to answer this question, one a specialist in geriatric medicine, the other a psychiatrist interested in the psychiatric problems of the elderly and the old. Both, however, come to the same general conclusion: attitudes of the doctors themselves and of society must be changed. These attitudes can determine not only whether an old person lives or dies but how he lives. Old people should not have to survive in mentally suspended animation with all objectives gone but should be helped to achieve the goal of an independent life until death in their own homes.
The third paper in this miniature symposium is provided by David Hobman, of Age Concern, who amplifies the specialist views of the first two writers in his discussion of attitudes to the elderly in modern society. He hints, however, that these may shortly change as the elderly become a sophisticated and powerful lobby which governments are forced to heed.
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I Thoughts of a geriatrician
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