A brief walk through the local Ageing & Disability Expo where our library had a stall, reminded me that the concept of ageing is ever changing and notions of what it is to be an ‘older person’ or ‘senior citizen’ are not what they once were. As our population ages and the number of people claiming senior status increases, so do our perceptions of what it is to be old, change. Like the many and varied stalls showcasing the different services aimed at seniors, you can find books on ageing shelved in the psychological, medical, spiritual, financial, fitness and biographical shelves, making the topic a grand tour of Dewey. Personally, the titles I find interesting are those that explore the concept of ageing through the collective experiences of those who’ve gone before… people in their late adulthood!
In the book In praise of ageing by Patricia Edgar, Edgar introduces her topic by asking: ‘Why do some people live an active and rewarding life while others die early or live miserably?’ Rather than focusing on the assumed ‘burden of the ageing’, (which she explores in Part One – The gift of age), Edgar begins to tackle this conundrum by interviewing eight people who have lived beyond their 80s (Part Two: The elders). They include teacher, biochemist and artist Muriel Crabtree (aged 102), and Jim Brierley, octogenarian skydiver. Through these stories, Edgar demonstrates that ageing brings with it opportunities to reshape our thinking and our lives by reaffirming what we care about and staying motivated to remain creative and connected to the world. Look inside here: www.booktopia.com.au
The importance of maintaining a sense of humour can not be over-emphasized by many and 1,000 unforgettable senior moments : of which we could remember only 254 by Tom…uh…Friedman is just one book that highlights the lighter side of age-related gaffes, from the ridiculous to the ridiculously worrying. Examples include: The team of astrophysicists who believed they had discovered proof of alien life–only to discover the signals were coming from the lunchroom microwave; the bank robber who wrote a holdup note on a cheque stub that had his name and address printed on it; and the president who left the nuclear launch codes in a suit at the dry cleaners. 1,000 Unforgettable Senior Moments is entertaining, witty and very accessible.
You can sample it here: 1001 unforgettable senior moments
Read more about the book here: aginganapprenticeship.com
Aging starts in your mind : you’re only as old as you feel by Notker Wolf, with Leo G. Linder ; translated by Gerlinde Buchinger-Schmid is a lighthearted, anecdotal approach to life as an ageing adult. While Wolf acknowledges that ‘The body is counting years, and it’s an incorruptible chronicler’ he also states: ‘The body and soul experience time differently… the soul measures itself by a different standard… it doesn’t grow old; it’s timeless’. Wolf encourages readers to focus on the ‘state of our soul- a soul which is resolutely vibrant, cheerful, and full of zest for life.’ Translated from German, this autobiographical book covers many ageing related topics in 22 chapters. You can preview it here: Aging starts in your mind