Books on Aging

The following books have helped me learn more about the aging process, and my reflections on it. I've ordered them by related subjects.

It ain't over till it's over

A User's Guide to the Second Half of Life
William E. Diehl and Judith Ruhe Diehl
Copyright © 2003 Augsburg Fortress
ISBN 0-8066-4448-6

Bill and Judith are friends from Pennsylvania where we all attended St Luke Lutheran Church in Devon. In this book they deal with the religious aspects of retirement. Theirs is most active. They recently moved into a retirement community with continuing care should they need it -- a decision they made for the kids. It is located in the same community where they had lived, so they can conveniently continue with many of their church and community activities. They have added more, shared with others in that new community.

The chapter titles include:

  1. Retiring Retirement
  2. Being Necessary
  3. Planning of Senior Living
  4. To Move or Not to Move
  5. Lifestyle
  6. Work
  7. Volunteering
  8. Giving
  9. The Money Thing
  10. That Time of Year
  11. Notes

Go back to helpful books

Everything You Need to Know About Retirement Housing

Finding the Right Place at the Right Time Joan Cleveland
Penguin Books 1996
ISBN 0140251839

The chapter titles include:

It's Your Turn, Word for the Worriers, Living with the Children, Resort Communities, High-Rises, Assisted Living Facilities, Continuing Care Retirement Communities, An Ounce of Financial Prevention, Useful Information (including State-by-State at a Glance, Taxes, Medical Care, State Agencies on Aging, General Resources.)

Go back to helpful books

Maximizing the Quality of Later Life

Douglas H. Powell
W.H.Freeman and Company, NY, 1998
ISBN 0-7167-4205-6

The myths explored in chapters include:

  1. Aging Is a boring subject
  2. All old people are pretty much the same
  3. An unsound body equals an unsound mind
  4. Memory is the first thing to go
  5. Use it or Lose it
  6. Old dogs can't learn new tricks
  7. Old people are isolated and lonely
  8. Old people are depressed, and have every right to be
  9. Wisdom requires being smart and elderly
  10. Summing up: guidelines for optimal aging

Go back to helpful books

Keep Your Brain Young

The complete guide to physical and emotional health and longevity
Copyright © 2002 by Guy McKhann, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and
Marily Albert, Ph,D, Harvard Medical School
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ISBN 0-471-43028-5

If there is one thing that determines how fully we live at an older age, it is how well our brains work. ... It is involved in almost everyting we do. ... thinking, feelings, modes, movements, senses, sleeping. This book emphasizes ways to keep your brain functions performing as well as possible for as long as possible.

Go back to helpful books


Kahlil Gibran -- Kahlil Gibran
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., May 1976
ISBN 0-394-404289
Many topics, including "On Love", "On Beauty", "On Work", "On Children",
"On Friendship", "On Giving, "Crime & Punishment".

Go back to helpful books

The Creative Mind

Myths and Mechanisms
Copyright © 1990 by Margaret A. Boden
ISBN 0-465-01452-6
Basic Books

"In sum: whether or not computers can really be creative, they can do apparently creative things -- and, what is more to the point, considering how they can do so can help us understand how creativity happens in people.

Go back to helpful books

Too Young to Retire

101 Ways to Start the Rest of Your Life
Copyright © Howard Stone and Marika C. Stone 2004
Penguine Group
ISBN 0-452-28557-7

"Consider this book an off-the-road map to the rest of your life. It is about discovery, surprise, and blazing your own trail. It isn't about destinations; it's about the journey itself."

Go back to helpful books

Younger Next Year

A guide to living like 50 until you're 80 and beyond
Copyright © 2004 by Christopher Crowley and Henry S. Lodge
Workman Publishing Company, Inc
New York
ISBN 0-7611-3423-9


Part One: Take Charge of Your Body
  1. The End of the World
  2. How's Your Wife?
  3. The New Science of Aging
  4. Swimming Against the Tide
  5. The Biology of Growth and Decay: Things That Go Bump in the Night
  6. Life is an Endurance Event: Train for It
  7. The Biology of Exercise
  8. The Heart of the Matter: Aerobics
  9. The Kedging Trick
  10. A World of Pain: Strength Training
  11. The Biologty of Strength Training
  12. The Ugly Stick and Other Curiosities
  13. Chasing the Iron Bunny
  14. Don't You Lose a ... Pound
  15. The Biology of Nutrition: Thinner Next Year
  16. "The Drink"
Part Two: Take Charge of Your Life
  1. "Teddy Doesn't Care!"
  2. The Limbic Brain and the Biology of Emotion
  3. Connect and Commit
  4. Things that Go Bump in the Morning: The New Sexual Life
  5. Relentless Optimism

Harry's Rules
Author Notes
The Younger Next Year One-Size-Fits-All Exercise Program

Go back to helpful books

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be

Edited by Sandra Haldeman Martz
Papier-Mache Press, Watsonville, CA, 1996
ISBN 0-918949-87-6 Softcover,
ISBN 0-918949-87-4 Hardcover

Contains a series of fifty-nine essays from many authors, mostly women,

"Common threads ran throughout the material: the need to be loved, the importance of family connections, an accepance of the aging process."

Go back to helpful books

Another Country

Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders
Mary Piper, Ph.D.
Riverhead Books 2000
ISBN 1-57322-784-6

A field guide for the baby-boomers who are finding themselves unprepared to care for those who have always cared for them. ... offers us new ways of supporting each other -- new ways of sharing our time, our energy, and our love.

This book has much excellent advice, with case study results based on her clinical practice. Her writing is most stimulating. She has written other award-winning books as well.

Notable are her five R's: We all want

  1. respect
  2. results
  3. relaxation
  4. realization
  5. relationships

Our challenge is to create a culture that allows our elders to have these things.

Go back to helpful books

Rules for Aging

A Wry and Witty Guide to Life
Roger Rosenblatt, Copyright © 2000
Harvest Book, Harcourt Brace
ISBN 0-15-100659-8

Fifty-eight rules, somewhat tongue-in-cheek. For example: "resist normal impulses, live longer, attain perfection"

Finally: "Apologize, reconcile, give help."

Go back to helpful books

Over the Hill & On A Roll

Copyright © 1998 by Bob Phillips
ISBN 0-7369-0002-0
Laugh lines for the better half of life.

Packed with wisdom, humor, and fascinating fact,
this book celebrates the passing of time and pokes
fun at what lies ahead for all of us!

Go back to helpful books

Vital Involvement in Old Age

Erik H. Erikson, Joan M. Erikson, Helen Q. Kivcnick
Norton & Company 1998
ISBN 0-393-02359-1

Examines eight stages of living:

Life StageSystemicDystemicMemnonic
Infancybasic trustbasic mistrustHOPE
Early Childhoodautonomyshame,doubt WILL
Play AgeInitiativeGuilt PURPOSE
School AgeIndustryInferiority COMPETENCE
AdolescenceIdentityConfusion FIDELITY
Young AdulthoodIntimacyIsolation LOVE
Old AgeIntegrityDespairWISDOM

This is based on a Berkeley CA study of octogenarians whose life histories had been studied over a half-century. What emerges is a remarkably absorbing, detailed, and intimate portrait of the experience of old age. [The Eriksons were in their ninth decade when this was written.] So they added a Ninth Life Stage in a separate book.

Go back to helpful books

The Life Cycle Completed

Extended versions with New Chapters on the (additional) Ninth Stage of Development
Erik H. Erikson
by Joan M. Erikson
Original version Rikan Enterprises Ltd. 1982
Norton Paperback 1998
ISBN 0-393-03934-X

Reviews Vital Involvement in Old Age, expanding on the final stage.

" complete our lives, we are called to give to others so that when we leave this world, we can be what we have given. 126"
This book will last and last, because it contains the wisdom of two wonderfully knowing observers of our humany destiny -- Robert Coles

Go back to helpful books

Age Power

How the 21st century will be ruled by the new old
Copyright © 1999 Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D
Penguin Putnam, Inc.
ISBN 0-87477-954-5

"The baby-boom generation is about to transform into the largest elder population in human history, changing how everone lives, large and small. No business, family, or home will work tomorrow as it does today."

Go back to helpful books

Power Aging

The revolutionary Program to Control the Symptoms of Aging Naturally
New American Library
Copyright © Gary Null's Anti-Aging Center 2003
ISBN 0-451-21050-6 (alk. paper)

To people of any age who aren't afraid
to make conscious choices to be the best that thay can be
and get the best from others.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Beginning the process
  1. An Antiaging overview
  2. It's the environment, stupid
  3. Why do we age?
Part II: What you need to know now
  1. Hormonal keys to health
  2. The heart of the matter
  3. Preventing or facing cancer
  4. Staying mentally sharp as we age
  5. The antiaging arsenal
Part III Putting it all together -- for you!
  1. Gary's non-diet, no exercise exercise program
  2. Recipes for power aging
  3. Countering common conditions
Part IV More Help
  1. Techniques toward transformation
  2. Voices of experience

Recipe index

Go back to helpful books

Why Survive? Being Old in America

Roger N. Butler, M.D.
Harper and Rowe, 1975 ISBN 0-06-010591-7

"...Americans find it difficult to think about old age until they are propelled into the midst of it by their own aging and that of relatives and friends. Aging is the neglected stepchild of the human life cycle. ... Death is a dramatic, one-time crisis while old age is a day-by-day and year-by-year confrontation with powerful external and internal forces, a bittersweet coming to terms with one's own personality and one's life.

The provocative chapter titles introduce an effective discussion of a significant topic, then and now.

  1. The Tragedy of Old Age in America
  2. How to Grow Old and Poor in an Affluent Society
  3. What About My Pension?
  4. The Right to Work
  5. No Place to Live
  6. No Time to Wait
  7. The Unfulfilled Prescription
  8. "They Are Only Senile"
  9. Houses of Death Are a Lively Business
  10. Victimization of the Elderly
  11. Pacification and the Politics of Aging
  12. The Gift of Life
  13. Loosening Up Life
  14. Growing Old Absurd

Go back to helpful books

The Longevity Factor

A Revolutionary New System for Prolonging Your Life
Walter McQuade and Ann Aikman
Simon and Schuster, 1979
ISBN 0-617-24038-2

"...The best way to 'cure' degenerative diseases is to prevent them, ahead of time. The catch is that the person who does the preventing is not the doctor or the scientist, but you. ... Develops ideas of health profiling as a useful tool -- long before computer-assisted evaluations.

Go back to helpful books

Emotional Longevity

What really determines how long you live
Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D.
with P. Elizabeth Anderson
Viking Penguin 2003
ISBN 0-670-03185-2

"This book brilliantly connects biomedical and behavioral science for a more comprehensive understanding of how long and how well we live. The analysis was so impressive I read it twice!" -- Donna E Shalala

Discusses six dimensions of health:

  1. emotions
  2. thoughts and actions
  3. personal achivements and equality
  4. environment and relationships
  5. faith and meaning
  6. biology

Optimism protects health; pessimism increases vulnerability to emotional and physical disfunction. p29

Go back to helpful books

The Longevity Strategy

How to Live to 100 Using the Brain-Body Connection
David Mahoney and Richard Restak, M.D.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1998
ISBN 471-24867-3

The brain-body connection is the interaction among three factors: the health of your brain, your attitude, and your physical health. The authors ... draw on state-of-the-art brain-body research to demonstrate the vital importance of handling stress properly, lifelong education and mental activity (use it or lose it!), the socil connections, physical exercise, and rearranging your brain's hardwiring toward optimism.
Sections include:
Get the longevity attitude (4 chapters)

The long-lived brain (9 chapters)
Use your brain for longevity (11 chapters)
Do right by your body (6 chapters)

Go back to helpful books

The Nine Myths of Aging

Maximizing the Quality of Later Life
Douglas H. Powell
W.H.Freedman and Co, New York, 1998
ISBN 0-7167-3104-5

The nine myths debunked are:

  1. Aging is a Boring Subject
  2. All Old People Are Pretty Much the Same
  3. An Unsouond Body Equals an Unsound Mind
  4. Memory Is the First Thing to Go
  5. Use It or Lose It
  6. Old Dogs Can't Learn New Tricks
  7. Old People are Isolated and Lonely
  8. Old People Are Depressed, and Have Every Right to Be
  9. Wisdom Requires Being Smart and Elderly
  10. Suming Up: Guidelines for Optimal Aging

Go back to helpful books

Aging Well [Adult Development]

Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life
From the landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development

George E. Vaillalnt, M.D. 2002
ISBN 0-316-98936-3

Dr. Vaillant reports on over fifty years studying the aging of selected Harvard students since they were sophomores. He contrasts that with a group of inner-city kids, and of Stamford University high-IQ women. He concludes that individual life-style choices play a greater role than genetics, wealth, race, or other factors in determining how happy people are in their later llfe. He reveals which lifestyle choices really make a difference.

Go back to helpful books

Aging Well [Physical and Emotional Health]

The Complete Guide to Physical and Emotional Health
Copyright © 2000 Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., and Sue Levkoff, Sc.D.
Associate Professors, Harvard Medical School.
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
ISBN 0-471-32678-X

[list from cover.] How to stay healthy and happy, coping with age-related conditions, dealing with your doctor and the health-care system, everything you need to know about drugs and surgery, and retirement issues. Also includes words of support for caregivers.

Go back to helpful books

Mayo Clinic on Healthy Aging

Answers to help you make the most of the rest of your life.
Edward T. Creagan, M.D., Editor in Chief
Copyright © 2001, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
ISBN 1-893005-07-0
"Healty aging doesn't occur by accident.
Individuals who age best are people who are positive minded,
proactive in their decision making and well informed.
They are realistic. ..."

Go back to helpful books

Successful Aging

John W. Rowe, M.D. and Robert L. Kahn, Ph.D.
Pantheon Books, New York 1998
ISBN 0-375-40045-1

[from the book jacket] A profoundly important book that announces a completely new way to live your life.

The authors explain that successful aging is largely determined not by genetic inheritance -- as common wisdom has it -- but by individual lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, the pursuit of mental challenges, self-efficacy, and involvement with other people. This shift in the field of gerontology is due in great measure to the MacArthur Foundation Study of Aging in America, which was begun in 1987 and led by Drs. Rowe and Kahn. Its remarkable resuts are brought together for the first time in Successful Aging.

Inspiring and instructive, and based on more than ten years of groundbreaking research, the information and ideas presented here will transform our thinking about the quality of life that it is possible to obtain and sustain as we grow older.

Go back to helpful books

Help, Lord! I'm Having a Senior Moment

Notes to God on GROWING OLDER
Copyright © 2003 Karen O'Connor
Regal Books, a ministry of Gospel Light ISBN 0-8307-3340-6

Senior Moments -- guaranteed to keep us from becoming too self-important. Have another slice of humble pie!

Like it or not, perhaps earlier than we thought, senior moments hit us all. Karen helps us laugh at ourselves. -- Betty Southard.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied and years will be added to your life. -- Proverbs 9:10-11

Successful plans are implemented in steps, reviewed regularly, and revised as needed. This book can help you formulate a well-conceived general plan for the years ahead. Through its activities, you will identify both your larger goals as well as more immediate goals that you will have to face along the way. Successful planners learn from failed plans and use each planning opportunity to improve their ability to foresee obstacles and formulate alternatives.

Six life components are the mainstays of productive future planning:

  1. Personal Elements: Work, Study, Community, and Leisure
  2. Health Factors
  3. Social Resources: Family and Friends
  4. Housing and Location Considerations
  5. Financial Management
  6. Legal and Estate Planning

An appendix provides many references to resources, a bit dated.

Go back to helpful books

AARP Crash Course in Estate Planning

The essential Guide to Wills, Trusts, and Your personal Legacy
Copyright © 2005 by Michael T. Palermo
ISBN 0-7394-5067-0
Published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Part 1: Understanding Estate-Planning Basics

  1. Different Kinds of Property and the Law
  2. Wills and Trusts: Choosing the Right Tools to Make Your Estate Plan Work
  3. Beyond Wills and Trusts: The Rest of the Estate Planner's Toolkit
  4. The Ins and Outs of the Probate Process
  5. Who's in Charge Here? Choosing Your Executor and Trustee
  6. Using a Trust Protector: Someone to Trust Besides Your Trustee
  7. When Things Go Wrong
  8. Preparing for the Tax Man

Applying the Basics: Estate-Planning Tools for Common Life Situations

  1. Providing for Young Children: Some Useful Trust Provisions
  2. Planning for Children or Grandchildren with Disabilities