There is a conspiracy of silence about old age. When a social issue is not talked about enough, it becomes distorted by unspoken fears and unchallenged stereotypes. This conference sought to expose the prevalent misconceptions about ageing, to examine the latest medical, epidemiological and demographic research, and to consider societal and cultural responses to the challenges of ageing.
Historians, demographers, gerontologists, surgeons, journalists, epidemiologists, medics, writers, representatives of charities, philosophers and psychiatrists all contributed to the discussions. The diversity in the expertise of the participants was matched by diversity in the age groups and the nationalities represented. In a field beset by ‘silo-thinking’ this conference offered the opportunity to share expertise between disciplines, across sectors and across national boundaries. In short, the conference was a superb fulfilment of the mission of Cumberland Lodge to foster cross-sector and interdisciplinary co-operation.