A humorous guide to the pleasures and irritations of growing older.
In their nonfiction collaboration, debut author Paskoff and Pack (Chronicles: The Library of Illumination, 2014, etc.) take a loving, detailed look at the many trials and challenges of old age, aiming their book specifically at an audience of people traveling the strange terrain that is life over the age of 60. The authors address dozens of aspects of growing older, including changes in basic physical capabilities as well as fear of dementia and other ailments of the aging population. The book gives readers clear, sensitive overviews of various phenomena that seniors might encounter, such as how to deal with changes in the body’s five senses or a diagnosis of heart disease. The authors don’t shy away from subjects that some may find delicate, such as the changing physical nature of senior sexuality or even alterations in what they call the human “waste disposal system,” presenting them simply in clear graphics with an often light tone. The book also deals with other complex topics, from the intricacies of grandparenting to the difficulties of modern technology. The number of Americans over 60 is projected to double from 40 million to 80 million by midcentury, and the authors clearly want to reassure readers in or approaching that age group. One of the book’s most insightful segments deals with the psychological effects of aging, when it begins to change elements of day-to-day life: “Gone are the days when we see our reflection in the mirror and like what we see,” the authors write. “Now, we sometimes get depressed.” There’s also valuable advice on financial matters, particularly the increasing likelihood of outliving one’s retirement savings, and on writing a personal memoir (“You don’t have to be flowery or elegant. You just have to tell it like it was”). Many seniors will find this a must-read.
A friendly, warts-and-all aging handbook.