Carol Middleton reviews 'Dear Life' by Karen Hitchcock

Carol Middleton reviews 'Dear Life' by Karen Hitchcock

Dear Life: On Caring for the elderly (Quarterly Essay 57)

by Karen Hitchcock

Black Inc., $22.99 pb, 111 pp, 9781863957168

In her long-form essay Dear Life, columnist and fiction writer Karen Hitchcock considers how we in Australia treat the elderly and dying. To the task she brings her formidable skills as a writer and her experience at the coalface, working as a staff physician in a Melbourne public hospital. The result is a sensitive, rigorous, and moving account that exposes the prevailing ageism in our medical services and in Australian society as a whole.

Countering the popular opinion that the elderly are becoming an increasing burden on our economy and resources, Hitchcock argues for an ethical and compassionate approach to aged care, where older people are no longer infantalised and patronised. Currently, the elderly are often sidelined in a world of increasing specialisation, where general physicians are becoming rare, health services fragmented, and systemic care of the patient overlooked.

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Carol Middleton

Carol Middleton

Carol Middleton is a journalist, arts critic and author, based in Melbourne. Her short story awards include second place in The Age competition 2010. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in the anthologies Melbourne Subjective, Ink3 and Vine Leaves Literary Journal. She is working on a memoir in essays. Her work can be seen at

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