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SHAKESPEARE BROUGHT TO MIND AND DEMENTIA

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:59 am
by Mary_16121
Since my partner was diagnosed with mixed dementia, these words of Shakespeare's have kept coming to mind - call dementia what you will, but this sums it up. As a genealogist I see the words 'senile decay' on death certificates from the past.... but it's all this awful thing called dementia. God help us all.

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Re: SHAKESPEARE BROUGHT TO MIND AND DEMENTIA

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:03 am
by rosemary
Thanks for sharing that Mary

I have been fascinated myself in the past regarding some of the terminology used on death certificates.

x

Re: SHAKESPEARE BROUGHT TO MIND AND DEMENTIA

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:09 am
by Sally_17031
Thank you for posting that. it really is very appropriate isn't it? I love Shakespeare, his words are still often very relevant.

As to the death certificate, Huntington's disease runs in our family and it used to be referred to as St Vitus' Dance on account of the involuntary movements. Then later Chorea. Then Huntington's Chorea and now Huntington's Disease! Although often cause of death is Pneumonia or something else.

Re: SHAKESPEARE BROUGHT TO MIND AND DEMENTIA

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:41 am
by bowlingbun
Thanks for sharing this. I suffered the usual Shakespeare studies at school, but was never a real fan. Now I'm older and maybe wiser I see just how relevant much of what he said was, whatever age you are living in. I'm familiar with the phrase "sans everything" but had no idea it featured in Shakespeare.

Re: SHAKESPEARE BROUGHT TO MIND AND DEMENTIA

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:03 am
by jenny lucas
Those last two lines have always been chilling....

They show that Shakespeare himself must definitely have seen that 'senile decay' in people around him, but I don't think we know who, precisely.

It must have been relatively uncommon 'in olden days' as most people died much younger of other things. As ever, some of the longest lived people were post-menopausal women. They say, even now, that our 70s are more dangerous than our 80s, as in, if we make it to 80 we are statistically more likely to make it to 90, than it is to get from 70 to 80.

The secret of the 'super-agers' is still very unclear. Genetically there must be 'something' going on that seems to protect them from heart disease and cancer.

That said, I used to think my MIL was one of them, as she was so incredibly 'fit' at 89....but then her mind went (and she was the last person I ever thought would succumb).

So maybe dementia ends up being 'the final terminal illness' that gets even the 'superagers'?? Again, that said, people like the Queen Mum (101?) and other centarians, what do they die of 'eventually' I wonder? They don't seem to get dementia either.....

There's obviously still, still so much for us to learn and research about what actually causes decay and death in the human body and mind.

Re: SHAKESPEARE BROUGHT TO MIND AND DEMENTIA

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:05 am
by jenny lucas
This is a little flippant, so apologies - but my favourite 'cause of death' has to be the one of, I think, Henry I of England, who is said to have died of 'a surfeit of lampreys'.

I've always remembered that one!

(If 'surfeit' ever goes on my death cert it's going to be a 'surfeit of cream cakes'!)(sigh)

(Or possibly pasta.....!)

Re: SHAKESPEARE BROUGHT TO MIND AND DEMENTIA

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:05 am
by jenny lucas
'Apoplexy' was another term 'in olden days' wasn't it?

I assume it would now be called stroke?

Re: SHAKESPEARE BROUGHT TO MIND AND DEMENTIA

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:38 pm
by Pennie
I think the saddest one (usually found on infant death certificates) is "failure to thrive".

(i'm also a genealogist, but just an unpaid amateur!)

Re: SHAKESPEARE BROUGHT TO MIND AND DEMENTIA

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:51 pm
by Mary_16121
Pennie wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:38 pm
I think the saddest one (usually found on infant death certificates) is "failure to thrive".

(i'm also a genealogist, but just an unpaid amateur!)

Indeed it is..........

one of the funniest things I saw on the 1911 census was when a man said his 14 year old daughter was

' Mother's help, but father's pest' !!!