Elderhood

PUBLISHED 2019

“I hope everyone who has a stake in older people, which is ultimately all of us, will read this book.”

— Mary Pipher, author of Women Rowing North

For more than 5,000 years, “old” has been defined as beginning between the ages of 60 and 70. Now that humans are living longer than ever before, many people alive today will be elders for 30 years or more. Yet at the very moment that most of us will spend more years in elderhood than in childhood, we’ve made old age into a disease, a condition to be dreaded, disparaged, neglected, and denied.

Noted Harvard-trained geriatrician Louise Aronson uses stories from her quarter century of caring for patients and draws from history, science, literature, popular culture, and her own life to weave a vision of old age that’s neither nightmare nor utopian fantasy—a vision full of joy, wonder, frustration, outrage, and hope about aging, medicine, and life itself.

The story of aging is the story of what it means to be human. It’s both a timeless tale and one that’s rapidly changing with advances in science, technology, and society. Aronson tackles this epic topic with the precision of a scientist, the compassion of a clinician, and the eloquence of a literary writer.

Elderhood will transform how readers think and feel about aging. This intensely compassionate book reframes “life’s third act” in ways both revolutionary and revelatory.

 ... one of the most significant books on aging and ageism in America. Elderhood should be required reading, alongside Dr. Atul Gawande’s bestselling Being Mortal...

— GBO News

...an examination of aging and the human condition encompassing poignant stories and the viewpoints of medical experts, writers, historians, and scientists. The book is beautifully written and offers countless moments of keen insight.

Kirkus Review, Starred Review

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