I have always been uncomfortable and wary in the company of bees, having endured many unprovoked bites while taking breaks in our house in France. So I am naturally unsympathetic to the species, notwithstanding my love of honey which, I’m told, has many medicinal benefits if taken in moderation.
To my great surprise, scientists have found that listening to the buzzing of bees could help to improve the mental and physical health of the elderly. Having reached the enviable and unexpected age of eighty-four, and still working as hard as ever, any discoveries that improve my mental capacity to keep going is music to my ears.
Scientists have concluded that sounds such as bees, or the trickle of water, could instigate feelings of renewal, after interviews with people aged between sixty-five and eighty-six. The research, published in the journal Health and Place, suggests that pensioners who interact with nature and meet friends and family near ponds or in parks could more easily fend off chronic illness, disability and isolation.
The study also highlighted the benefits of going to the beach – either to swim or simply stare at the sea, which could prove comforting to those who have lost loved ones.
Lead researcher Jessica Finley, a doctoral candidate in geography and gerontology at the University of Minnesota, said: ‘While our research may seem intuitive, it creates conversations and how to build communities that serve people across their entire lifetime. We don’t just need a playground for children. We also need sheltered benches for the grandparents to watch them.’
What interests me most is the buzzing of the bees that rejuvenates the mind which we all need as old age looms, and if I had to choose between the occasional bite of a renegade bee or the possible weakening of the mind, I would certainly opt for the bite and suffer in silence and seek no retribution for the attack.