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Being Mortal, Atul Gawande

Being mortal is about the struggle to cope with the constraints of our biology, with the limits set by genes and cells and flesh and bone. This book is about the modern experience of mortality – what it’s like to be human beings who age and die, how medicine has changed the experience and how it hasn’t, where our ideas about how to deal with the finitude have got the reality wrong. Many people now insisted on a change in priorities demanding that policymakers ensure that doctors promise to fix things. But what about geriatricians – bolster our resilience to old age?

What I’ve seen in a nursing home - the aim is the idea of caring does not bear any meaningful resemblance to what we call living. Activities have become passive entertainment – bingo, DVD movies, TV… gone are the friendships, privacy, and purpose of their days. The self-fulfillment through the pursuit of moral ideas and creativity for their own sake.

The terror of sickness and old age is not merely the terror of the losses one is forced to endure but also the terror of isolation. They do not ask much. They do not seek more riches or more power. They only ask to keep shaping the story of their life in the world, to make choices, and to sustain connections to others according to their priorities.


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