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Old people are often seen as a burden – threatening the future of younger generations by sucking up health resources, straining families and spending their kids’ inheritance. They are crumbling and leaking and bent over, gripping their walking sticks with big white knuckles, staring at the young askance as they slip into the last seat on the bus. Thank god we’ll never be old!

With honesty and deep experience, Australian doctor and writer Karen Hitchcock looks at end-of-life decisions, frailty and dementia, over-treatment and escalating costs. She argues we must change to meet the needs of an ageing population.

Dr Hitchcock is the author of a Quarterly Essay – Dear Life: On caring for the elderly and has written on the obesity epidemic. She is also a staff physician in acute and general medicine at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.