A geriatrician’s lively guide to living well after 60.
Bernstein loves counseling and treating the elderly. He’s fascinated by “how we live our lives and what we do near the end that makes [life] significant.” Here, he shares—through his experiences with patients and family—his enthusiasm and respect for the process of aging. His guiding philosophy is to keep the ultimate end in mind as he helps the aged cope, in a sensible, realistic way, with the multiple, difficult issues of old age. For a healthy, fulfilling life, he encourages the understanding and practice of what he calls the five attributes of GRACE: Goals, Roots (as in DNA), Attitude, Companionship and Environment (as in lifestyle). Throughout the chapters, Bernstein shares anecdotes of elders working into old age, living to be 100, having sex after 70, and driving (or not) at 80 and up. The guide touches on a range of topics facing the geriatric population: cancer, heart disease, dementia, changes in living arrangements, hospice care, doctor–patient relationships and loss of independence. Each chapter ends with notes for living longer and more gracefully, as well as a list of resources and links for further exploration. In a caring but unsentimental manner, the guide makes it clear that, indeed, there’s no way out of this business of aging and reaching the end of life. Bernstein has come to realize that “[o]lder adults are desperate to be heard and understood,” so he has listened without judgment, asked questions, learned about his patients and figured out “how to live a long and fulfilling life.”
A necessary, fresh, straightforward read for all ages, since life, as Bernstein bluntly states, is a process of coming-of-old-age.