Books with good advice on healthy aging
These three books approach the subject of aging from three perspectives: sharing life lessons, advocating against the mistreatment of elders, and encouraging physical activity to enhance health.
The Second Half: Forty Women Reveal Life After Fifty, by Ellen Warner, 242 pages, Brandeis University Press hardcover, 2022
Be inspired by the stories of women over age 50 from an array of diverse backgrounds.
In their own first-person accounts, these 40 women articulate their deepest thoughts, review the past and look forward to the future. They offer sage advice based on their personal experiences. Readers will become aware of the issues they themselves may confront as they age.
Accompanying each of the profiles is a full-page black-and-white photograph by septuagenarian Ellen Warner, an accomplished photojournalist. The portraits show older women in a positive light; their faces reflect lives well lived.
Each chapter covers one woman. We are introduced to her by name, the age at which she was interviewed, her profession and place of residence. The women range in age from 53 to 107.
They are politicians and publishers, housewives and decorators, documentarians and authors, a farmer and a farrier, a housekeeper and a nomad, a painter and a shaman, a publican and a spiritual healer, movie stars and jet setters — each with a unique life story.
Every woman addresses the same set of questions: describing her life after 50, lessons learned from her first five decades, her greatest pleasure, the happiest and saddest times, how she would like to be remembered, and advice she would impart to younger women. Their answers run the gamut. Ponder your own responses.
Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End It, by Tracey Gendron, PhD, 180 pages, Steerforth hardcover, 2022
Have you ever felt patronized on account of your age? Were you forced into retirement to make way for a younger worker? Do you feel ignored in a social setting because you are gray-haired?
Here’s a book from a 50-year-old gerontologist who will reinforce the outrage you may feel. Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Dr. Tracey Gendron condemns society for the way elders are mistreated.
She decries humor at our expense, the media’s exclusion of the frail and physically infirm, and the hawking of cosmetics and other anti-aging potions that implies wrinkles and other signs of aging are unattractive.
Gendron advocates addressing ageism head-on. Recognizing and pointing out negative stereotypes of elders will raise awareness and make others sensitive to these misconceptions.
At the same time, those who are frail and can no longer live independently should not be warehoused away from the general population to be forgotten — or, worse, mistreated. Oftentimes caregivers are neither trained, licensed nor adequately paid.
While we embark on the arduous mission of changing society at large, we ourselves should not internalize these stereotypes. Elders, their loved ones and caregivers should embrace aging as a stage in the life cycle of spiritual growth and contentment.
Get Fit for Life: Exercise and Physical Activity for Healthy Aging, by National Institute on Aging, NIH, 122 pages, U.S. Government Publications paperback, 2020
Be inspired by this book — no matter your age, physical condition or previous degree of physical activity — to start an exercise program.
Learn the importance of motion to maintain good health, reverse deterioration that comes with aging, improve certain chronic conditions and open a new vista of emotional satisfaction and mental acuteness.
This is not a bromide hawked by TV infomercials, but a serious, science-based approach. Its aim is to inspire independence and a goal-oriented lifestyle.
Fit for Life addresses older adults’ fears about embarking on something new. Positive change at this stage of life can reap beneficial rewards.
A worksheet is provided to allow you to set your own pace and measure your goals as they are achieved. Record your activities from month to month and watch your progress.
This book can be a lifesaver. Order your free copy at bit.ly/NIHfreebooklet.