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Is this the end of the world? All my friends are dying, and Fergal Keane's sanctimonious voice drones in the background.

By Jeremy Clarke   June 1999

I’m not an expert, but having lived in an old people’s home on and off for the past ten years, it seems to me that the first signs of a physically deteriorating brain are short-term memory loss, an impoverished vocabulary, and short-term memory loss.

This short-term memory loss, I think, chiefly accounts for the widely held and absurd belief that old age brings serenity. Pace Dr Jung, there are no spiritual benefits accruing to the elderly that I know of-unless, of course, you believe that pain and rejection are somehow character-forming.

Take Molly, for example. Molly is 87. She was…

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