In last week's New York Times, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel suggested that this year's resolution might be to abandon the ritual of your annual physical. The title of his column, perhaps chosen by an editor to maximize glibness and thus provocation was: "Skip your annual physical." But permit me to suggest you don't commit to that just yet. The annual physical exam warrants some more examination, a defense to follow its prosecution.
I want to be clear; I know and see daily the challenges and suffering dementia can bring. I also know and see daily the beautiful joys and learning it can bring, to those experiencing it and those that care for them. Can we have a perspective on dementia that holds both the challenges and the joys? They are not mutually exclusive.
The fatalistic belief in the end of humanity, most often because of our sins or lack of virtue, is as frightening as it is harmful. If we believe that no matter what we do, the majority of us will perish in some reign of heavenly or demonic fire, what is our motivation to plan for our collective future?