There’s a TV series on Netflix which, despite its cringe-making title I think you’d find uplifting, but bear with me . . .
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.
When Shakespeare put these thoughts in the mouth of Jacques in As You Like It, he was probably thinking of people in their 50s. Now 50 is the prime of life, though the age at which patients are admitted under the geriatricians varies: in 1986 when I did my house jobs, it was 80 in Cornwall and 65 in Acton – and the Cornish I saw were in better shape than the Londoners.
With luck, decent living conditions and good maintenance people in rich countries can preserve their teeth and their vision into their 70s, 80s, even 90s. But it requires commitment. I have just been to the dentist for the first time for nearly two years and come away with a large bill and a gold star. So it was worth the rigorous two minutes with an electric toothbrush, the interdental brushes and the flossing (ugh) twice a day.