Annotated Bibliography

A SELECTION OF RECENT BOOKS ON AGING

It goes without saying that the ideas presented in these books do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Kentucky or the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Use your own discrimination and good judgment in evaluating printed information from any source. 

Birren, James E. & Cochran, Kathryn. (2001). Telling the Stories of Life Through Guided Autobiography Groups. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. 0801866340. A guidebook for group leaders who want to work with older persons in group settings at recalling and recording their autobiographies. It includes a wealth of general information as well as detailed instruction on planning individual sessions. The authors have included much about how this type of exercise benefits participants.

Carter, Jimmy. (1998). The Virtues of Aging. New York: Ballentine. ISBN 0-345-42592-8. A former President of the United States shares personal stories along with his ideas on the challenges and blessings of growing old.

Chopra, Deepak and Simon, David. (2001). Grow Younger, Live Longer: Ten Steps to Reverse Aging. Harmony Books. ISBN 0609600796. A step-by-step plan which allows readers to regain an energetic and youthful outlook. In easy- to-follow language, the authors suggest ways to nourish your mind and body, allowing you to forestall, or even reverse, the aging process.

Claflin, Edward (editor). (1998). Age Protectors: Your Guide to Perpetual Youth. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, Inc. ISBN 0-87596-454-0. From the editors of Prevention Health Books, this collection of essays by leading doctors and experts presents methods for increasing longevity and slowing down the aging process. It addresses a number of health problems with practical, step-by-step solutions.

Clark, Etta (1995) Growing Old Is Not For Sissies II: Portraits Of Senior Athletes. San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks. ISBN 0876544782. Inspirational black and white photographs of older athletes, both male and female, as they compete and work out. The book includes photos of swimmers, body builders, surfers and more with accompanying quotes and comments.

Cox, Harold (editor). (1999) Annual Editions: Aging 00/01. Guilford, Connecticut: Dushkin/McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-233950-0. A collection of recent articles in the field of gerontology. Designed to represent a number of viewpoints and a number of approaches to problem-solving, this book provides a unique perspective on aging in America. Nicely illustrated.

Dass, Ram. (2000). Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying. New York: Riverhead Books. ISBN 1-57322-049-3. Sixties icon Ram Dass explores what it means to get older. He looks into the aging process in order to lead readers to a sense of purpose and spirituality. In so doing, he tries to provide a new positive perspective on aging and dying.

Digeronimo, Theresa Foy. (2001). How to Talk to Your Senior Parents About Really Important Things: Specific Questions and Answers and Useful Things to Say. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0787956163. A sensitively written book on how to deal with many difficult issues that boomers are faced with regarding their aging parents.  This book is a wonderful tool for improving communication between the generations, providing detailed instructions for bringing up and discussing many topics including money, careers, and health.

 Dychtwald, Ken. (1999). Age Power: How the 21st Century Will Be Ruled by the New Old. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam. ISBN 0874779545. One of America’s leading experts on gerontology explains how the aging of the baby-boomer generation will change the way we all live in the coming years. Dychtwald looks at the role of older people in past societies and shows how and why the “new old” will be different. He identifies some ways in which we might better prepare for this coming wave of Age Power.

Gambone, James. (2000). Refirement: A Boomer’s Guide to Life After 50. Minneapolis: Kirk House Publishing. ISBN 1886513260. As the title suggests, Gambone advocates putting “fire” into the retirement years. In this book, he calls for an active lifestyle that reflects a person’s wants and values. He advises people to live their later years in a way that will give something back to the next generation.

Gibson, H.B. (2000). Loneliness in Later Life. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 033392018X. Using the results of a British survey and a collection of autobiographies, Gibson draws some interesting conclusions about loneliness and old age. He finds that being alone is not necessarily a negative thing for many older people and that many people deliberately seek solitude. He looks at loneliness as it has appeared in works of literature through the ages and finds that in today's modern society, older people are much healthier and more active with many more options for living than they had in previous generations.

Henderson, Sallirae. (2000). A Life Complete: Emotional and Spiritual Growth for Midlife and Beyond. New York: Scribner. ISBN 0-684-83775-7. Henderson shows how the decisions one makes in middle age can have tremendous bearing on later life. She found that many older people were plagued by regrets and unresolved issues from their youth and middle years. In this book, she presents a plan for getting rid of those unpleasant and unproductive emotions so that old age can be filled with a sense of purpose and serenity.

Johnson, Richard P. (1998). The 12 Keys to Spiritual Vitality: Powerful Lessons on Living Agelessly. Liguori, Missouri: Liguori. ISBN 0-7648-0230-5. Johnson lays out 12 lessons on spiritual aging that he has formulated from a Christian perspective. He attempts to celebrate the aging process by encouraging people to embrace their older years and not view them as “the beginning of the end.”

Kausler, Donald, H. and Kausler, Barry C. (2001). The Graying of America: An Encyclopedia of Aging, Health, Mind, and Behavior. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252026357. Using non-technical language, this encyclopedia presents and interprets subjects in the areas of biology, psychology, and sociology as they apply to the aging process. Over 300 articles are included. 

Miller, James E. (1997). Welcoming Change: Discovering Hope in Life’s Transitions. Minneapolis: Augsburg. ISBN 0-8066-3338-7. An insightful exploration of change along with simple, affirming suggestions for managing life’s transitions. Text interspersed with inspiring quotations and balanced with full-color nature photographs that suggest hope and strength.

Moody, Harry R. (1998). The Five Stages of the Soul: Charting the Spiritual Passages That Shape Our Lives. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0385486774. Moody finds common ground between the many types of spiritual quests that people embark on in their later lives. He has come up with a 5-step process that he believes encompasses the majority of these efforts. Using stories from everyday life as well as myth and legend, Moody shows us how these journeys can lead us to a fulfilling later life.

Myers, David. (2000). A Quiet World: Living with Hearing Loss. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300084390. Myers, who himself suffers from gradual hearing loss, looks into the world of the hard-of-hearing. He shows how not being able to hear tends to isolate people from the rest of the world, but reports on numerous medical advances, from surgery to hearing aids which can help those suffering from hearing loss. He also gives advice to family and friends of those with hearing loss on how to communicate with them.

Paster, Zorba with Meltsner, Susan. (2001). The Longevity Code: Your Personal Prescription for a Longer, Sweeter Life. Clarkson Potter/Publishers. ISBN 0609603604. The popular radio host and physician introduces five spheres of wellness – physical, mental, kinship/social, spiritual, and material – that encompass all aspects of life. Within each sphere, Dr. Paster identifies both “busters,” negative lifestyle aspects, and “boosters,” positive lifestyle aspects. The book helps identify which “busters” are most detrimental to you and how you can replace them with “boosters” using a clip-out card system.

Pipher, Mary Bray. (2000). Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders. New York: Riverhead Books. ISBN 1573227846. Psychologist Pipher explains some of the basic psychological differences between today’s older persons and their boomer children. She shows that while the kids grew up in an atmosphere of emotional openness, the older generation considered emotional displays a sign of weakness. This book tries to reconcile the two ways of thinking.

Roizen, Michael & Stephenson, Elizabeth Ann. (2001). RealAge: Are You as Young as You Can Be? New York: Cliff Street Books. ISBN 0060930756. Roizen, a gerontologist at the University of Chicago, has come up with a method for determining what he calls your “real age,” which is either the same or more or less than your actual age according to many factors that are taken into consideration. Once you determine your “real age” using a quiz, you can then read about many things you can do to reduce it. The book focuses on preventative health maintenance and presents its lessons in an easy to follow format.

Rowe, John & Kahn, Robert. (1998). Successful Aging. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-375-40045-1. A compelling presentation of the factors that determine how well we age—the result of the MacAuthur Foundation Study of Aging in America, which shows how to maintain optimum physical and mental strength throughout later life.

Shalomi-Schachter, Zalman & Miller, Ronald S. (1997). From Age-Ing to Sage-Ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 0446671770. Drawing on a number of religious traditions, Rabbi Shalomi-Schachter guides readers through a re-thinking of what old age should be. He envisions a life of mentoring and sharing knowledge with others. Among other subjects, Shalomi-Schacter emphasizes constructive ways of facing death.

Snowdon, David. (2001). Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-80163-5. A very readable account of Dr. Snowdon’s groundbreaking study of aging which uses Nuns as research subjects. The book combines interesting descriptions of the scientific process with fascinating portraits of many of the Nuns involved. Dr. Snowdon sheds a lot of light on Alzheimer’s and the aging process and also poses many questions to be answered by ongoing research.

Sparks, Nicholas. (1996). The Notebook. New York: Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-52080-2. Set amid the austere beauty of coastal North Carolina, this short novel tells of a deep and lifelong love between a rugged man named Noah and his strong and talented wife, Allie. A moving portrait of love and its sweet endurance, even in the face of Alzheimer’s and end-of-life frailness.

Thomas, William H. (1996). Life Worth Living: How Someone You Love Can Still Enjoy Life in a Nursing Home---The Eden Alternative in Action. Acton, Massachusetts: VanderWyk & Burnham. ISBN 0-9641089-6-8. This book describes a new approach to running nursing homes that emphasizes empowering the staff and patients to create healthy atmospheres free of boredom, overmedication, and loneliness and full of gardens, art, and children. It tells how to “edenize” any nursing home using a step-by-step method.

Thomas, William H.; Strohmeier, Lenice U. (Illustrator); Osti, Roberto (Illustrator). (1999) Learning from Hannah: Secrets for a Life Worth Living. Acton, Massachusetts: VanderWyk & Burnham. ISBN 1889242098. An autobiographical tale, disguised as fiction, which describes how Thomas, a Harvard educated doctor and geriatrics expert, came to found the Eden Alternative for nursing homes. In the story, a shipwrecked Thomas and his wife learn how to care for the elderly, in a healthy and respectful manner, on a remote island and then bring the ideas back to the “civilized” world.

Vaillant, George E. (2002). Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development. New York: Little Brown & Company. ISBN 0316989363. Using an unprecedented study which followed 824 subjects from their teens to old age, Vaillant is able to tell us quite a bit about what leads to a happy, healthy life. He is able to show the importance of lifestyle choices, as opposed to a person’s background and also offers step-by-step advice for ways to improve. [Available January 2002].

Wall, Frank A. (1996). Where Did Mary Go? A Loving Husband’s Struggle with Alzheimer’s. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-070-3. A very personal account of a husband’s struggle with his 64-year-old wife’s illness. He shares practical lessons learned during his years of caregiving.

Wei, Jeanne Y. & Levkoff, Sue. (2000) Aging Well: The Complete Guide to Physical and Emotional Health. New York: John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 047132678X. Written by two Harvard Medical School faculty, this book deals with many aspects of how the body ages. It describes in detail a number of body systems, telling about the changes that the aging process brings. The book also includes strategies for dealing with age-related problems.

Wilder, Effie. (1995). Out to Pasture, But Not Over the Hill. Atlanta: Peachtree Publishers. ISBN 1-56145-101-0.  A charming novel by 85-year-old Effie Wilder, which stars Hattie McNair, a journal-keeper and eavesdropper whose humor and indomitable spirit offer an amusing and heartwarming look at the often avoided topics of aging and retirement.

Willcox, Bradley J.; Willcox, D. Craig; & Suzuki, Makoto. (2001). The Okinawa Program: How the World’s Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health—And How You Can Too. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers. ISBN 0-609-60747-2. Based on a landmark 25 year study of centenarians, this book shows how the Okinawans have become the longest-lived population in the world. It lays out an easy-to-follow plan, which includes diet, exercise and lifestyle changes which will help readers increase their chances of living longer, too.

Wolfelt, Alan. (1997). The Journey Through Grief: Reflections on Healing. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press. ISBN 1-879651-11-4. Information-packed yet brief reflection that provides a healing balm and source of empowerment for mourners as well as much-needed insight for professional caregivers.

Young-Eisnedrath, Polly. (1997). The Resilient Spirit: Transforming Suffering into Insight and Renewal. New York: Perseus. ISBN 0201517450. Young-Eisnedrath encourages people to learn from their hardships and draw on their life experiences to overcome pain. She uses both Buddhism and the works of C.G. Jung to make her points.