Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Medical Classics


BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 03 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5975
  1. Desmond O’Neill, consultant physician in geriatric and stroke medicine, Dublin
  1. doneill{at}

Faced with a frail, disabled, and sick older person in the emergency department, doctors can find it a challenge to convince students and junior trainees of the meanings of later life. One way to understand old age as the apogee of human experience is the concept of “life review.” As originally described by the recently deceased pioneer of geriatric medicine Robert Butler, this was a radical rethink that viewed the process as a normal developmental task of the later years, characterised by the return of memories and past conflicts. Life …

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