After travelling the world to interview leading scientists about breakthroughs which could soon transform the quality and extent of life, Cavendish spoke to the Hay Festival audience about the taboos around ageing and how governments, businesses, doctors, the media and each one of us should handle the final few decades of life.
In her new book, a manifesto for change, the award-winning Times journalist argued that if we take a more positive approach, we should be able to reap the benefits of a prolonged life and help the elderly to play a fuller part in society. But that will mean a revolution: in work, in education, in housing, in medicine – and in our attitudes.
In conversation with Joan Bakewell, appointed as a Voice for Older People by Gordon Brown, Cavendish encouraged older people to enjoy regular aerobic exercise, social connection and keep our brains cognitively challenged by learning languages and instruments. "It's complete nonsense that the window to learn new skills closes when you're 25 years old, the brain stays plastic forever, we can and should keep challenging ourselves to learn new things" she said.
In a challenge to the British press, of which she is part of, Cavendish said "all over the world people are not letting age define them anymore and the media is not reflecting this, this needs to change".
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