A smiling carer chats with an elderly lady

Happy Birthday Leonard

“I stumbled out of bed
I got ready for the struggle
I smoked a cigarette
And I tightened up my gut
I said this can’t be me
Must be my double
And I can’t forget, I can’t forget
I can’t forget but I don’t remember what”

Leonard Cohen

I don’t think that there can  be any doubt that the huge technological advances affecting all our lives are going to dramatically change healthcare, the way we interact with doctors and the long term prognosis for many diseases.

The ability to map individual DNA may well transform our ability to understand and fight diseases.  We will be monitored by iPads and watches following our every heart beat with the real live data of patients of the  NHS uploaded and available to influence treating options.

The upshot – we are going to live longer.  It could be a lot longer.  The new born of today will probably live beyond 100 and the politicians and general public continue to march towards a very major funding crisis.

For instance, we await further details on the Universal Deferred Payment Scheme introduced by the Care Act 2014 but the pledge that no-one needs to sell their family home to fund their care is simply not supported by the published guidance or sustainable as a public funding proposition.  Some people will not have to sell their houses but an awful lot will.  Will Local Authorities have the resource to support self funders to pay their care fees to avoid the sale of the family home?

So what has this all to do with Leonard?  When Cohen left the music business for a Buddhhist retreat in 1994 many thought his retirement was permanent.  The subsequent misappropriation of $5 million from his bank account by his manager put pay to any such plans.  As he turned 80 this week few would have reckoned on Cohen releasing one of the finest albums of the year. For the generation of tomorrow Mr Cohen’s productivity at eighty might not be so unusual.

Happy  Birthday.