social business for urban development
As someone about to turn 40, ageing is very much on my mind, so I’m afraid you will be getting a slightly introverted blog post today. I enjoyed the following insights from Professor Des O’Neill of Tallaght Hospital and Trinity College Dublin when he joined the 4000 strong delegation at the Gerontological Society of America. Why don’t we have ageing conventions in the UK?
To take a short snippet, he says: “…humanities research in gerontology seeks to illuminate the deeper and wider meanings of ageing. As outlined by a leader in the field, it embodies three intrinsic ingredients. Through compassion we recognise our vulnerability and emotional, moral and spiritual response to others; we acknowledge the relationship between the knower and the known; and we seek an emphasis on moral and spiritual aspects of growing old, especially meaning.”
This is a very dignified observation of ageing; I don’t necessarily agree with it, but it makes for some good thinking. It’s true that I’m more self-aware than I used to be, I think I am more empathetic and way way more humble than I was. It’s the last thing that I’m having trouble with: meaning. I’m not sure there is much meaning in growing old, not so far for me. Maybe the fact that Three Sisters Care does so much end of life care also means that purpose appears to be lacking in the day to day aspects of old age. Sadly we see the frail uncomfortable side of ageing and it’s our job to move people as much possible into the dignified state that Prof O’Neill talks about.
Perhaps when I cross the threshold into middle age, the spiritual aspects of the experience of life will become less fuzzy. I’ve always been curious about it and I hope that age helps to clear the veils of religion and new age nonsense in order to afford a true experience of spirituality. That would be nice.
Read the full article here: