Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Up with ageing

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 14 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4215
  1. Desmond O’Neill, consultant in geriatric and stroke medicine, Dublin
  1. doneill{at}

    At its heart Up, the new Disney/Pixar film, is a remarkable study of ageing, thinks Desmond O’Neill

    Few animated family movies feature courtship, infertility, and death in the opening 10 minutes. That Up, the new film from Pixar, can do this with sensitivity and assurance is only one of its remarkable features. Not only do the film makers understand that they do not need to condescend to children but they deliver an extraordinary insight into the reality of ageing that can easily displace any amount of worthy lectures on ageism.

    Ageing at all stages of life means both growth and loss, but our society has tended to overemphasise the negative aspects of later life and often fails to recognise the importance of older people in the fabric of our everyday lives. Ageism, including that prevalent in health care, is the unsurprising consequence. Countering ageism requires a mechanism for communicating complex concepts of simultaneous growth and loss, contribution, and need: this may be best served by an artistic metaphor. …

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