This Week’s Top Picks – 30th November

This was a pretty rough week in my part of the world. Our fair city was hit by an extremely furious storm and it will be quite some time before all the damage is repaired. In the midst of all the chaos, here are the things that moved me, intrigued me, and got me thinking this week.

Life Imitating Art
The New York Times did a beautiful profile of the film-makers behind the cinema adaptation of Lisa Genova’s book Still Alice. The film-makers faced their own battle with a degenerative disease during production, making the film’s success even more poignant. If you haven’t read Still Alice, I suggest you do so immediately. I read it in one sitting and cried like a baby.

There’s No Place Like Home
Speaking of tears, this article in The Monthly also got me a bit emotional. Sarah Day’s account of choosing an aged care facility for her mother is a familiar one, but she’s captured the experience with such warmth and care.

When you’ve read Sarah’s piece, you might want to check out Ruth Behar’s meditation on the idea of home. I’m huge fan of Ruth’s academic work and this ‘lay’ piece didn’t disappoint.

Give Thanks
To mark Thanksgiving, National Geographic asked 10 photographers to share an image for which they were particularly thankful. While all the photos are stunning, I thought Maggie Steber’s photo of her mother in the midst of dementia, and Lynn Johnson’s photo of her father dying, were particularly compelling.

The Doctor Will See Your Tweets Now
In an interesting article this week, Slate posed the question “should mental health professionals use social media to monitor their clients?” It’s an important and timely question and the article does a great job of weighing up the pros and cons.

If I’m being honest I’d have to say that I’ve never once wondered how scientists study bees. So I was surprised to find myself completely engrossed in this Aeon article. What fascinated me most was the parallels with my own research. It turns out people who study at-risk insects have a lot in common with people who study at-risk humans.

The Nine Shoulds
Should is a truly awful word. It’s so laden with expectation and guilt. But this fabulous infographic from Bupa highlights the nine things that really should be happening if we’re serious about providing respect, dignity, and quality of life for people with dementia and their families.

Work Less, Do More
Researchers often talk about what flexible workplaces universities are, but the punchline is always “Sure it’s flexible, you can work your 80 hours whenever you want!” Like so many industries, academia demands long hours, late nights, and many a weekend. But at what cost? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, so this piece in the Guardian really resonated with me. And I plan to follow it’s advice just as soon as I’ve submitted my next paper…

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