Kol Ami — The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community

Positive Aging Blog

Elder Years by Susan Freiband

It’s interesting and useful to examine the range of titles written about elder years. Here are three books that focus on different aspects of this time of life. GROWING OLD, NOTES ON AGING WITH SOMETHING LIKE GRACE (HarperCollins, 2020) by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, an octogenarian, is a memoir and life affirming map to embrace elder years with grace and dignity. Based on her years of experience, the author (who has written several books on the natural world) examines the up and downsides of the aging process with humor, honesty and curiosity.

In A LIFE WORTH LIVING, A DOCTOR’S REFLECTIONS ON ILLNESS IN A HIGH-TECH ERA (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008), Dr. Robert Martensen examines the decisions and choices faced by those faced with serious illness. He draws on decades of experience with patients and friends to explore the life cycle of critical illness. Using case studies, he demonstrates how to maintain dignity and resilience in the face of daunting circumstances.

David Kessler in THE NEEDS OF THE DYING, A GUIDE FOR BRINGING HOPE, COMFORT, AND LOVE TO LIFE’S FINAL CHAPTER (Harper, 2007) provides help and guidance through the final chapter of our lives. He is the coauthor with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (his friend and mentor) of two other important books, LIFE LESSONS and ON GRIEF AND GRIEVING. In THE NEEDS OF THE DYING he examines the physical and emotional experience of death, ways to say good-bye.

The books by Elizabeth Thomas and David Kessler are available in the Alexandria Public Library (305.2609 THO and 155.937 KESS). They are important resources for learning, gaining insight and understanding about moving through elder years.


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