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Anticipating deep autumn: a widening lens

Abstract

Medicine has become one of the most powerful influences of the twentieth century, and currently dominates how we approach and think about another powerful phenomenon: the aging of the world’s population. Our reliance on the medical model, with its focus on pathology, physiology, and biomedical interventions, makes it difficult for aging men and women and those in the health care field who care for them to seek alternative ways to attach meaning to the process of growing old. This article explores the role of the humanities as an alternative to the biomedical model which can enlarge our abilities to see the multidimensional aspects of aging. Age related writings and visual images by Kenyon, Neel, Olds, Valadon, and Hemingway are discussed to illustrate how fictive representations can and do serve as a moral impetus or stimulus for meaningful reflection about life stages that have not yet been experienced.

  • literature
  • art
  • aging
  • medicine
  • medical education
  • medical humanities

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