We're living longer. In just the last two decades, average life expectancy has risen by four years. But living longer doesn't necessarily mean living healthier: half of these extra years of life are marred by pain and trips to the doctor due to chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer, joint pain, asthma, osteoporosis, stroke and heart disease...
Progress is urgently needed in understanding Alzheimer's disease and in finding effective treatments. Available drugs can help stabilise memory loss and confusion for a few months in about half of patients, but no preventative treatments exist and none that slow the inexorable development of the disease.
When I sang old tunes, such as "What a Wonderful World," Herb would calm down and smile. At the end of each song he clapped loudly, even though I told him he didn't have to do that. Through music we were able to make a meaningful connection. I thought this was a small miracle, but what followed was even more unexpected.
Sometimes life deals you lemons and you have no choice but to suck them up. Sometimes you are given a whole box full of lemons. And sometimes DHL arrives in an articulated lorry with a 2-year supply of lemons and a note to say they'll be back with another delivery at some point in the future (date tbc).