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Life Gets Better: The Unexpected Pleasures of Growing Olderby Wendy Lustbader
Synopses & Reviews
The acclaimed author of What's Worth Knowing reveals the truth about aging: Old age often offers a richer, better, and more self-assured life than youth.
From our earliest lives, we are told that our youth will be the best time of our lives-that the energy and vitality of youth are the most important qualities a person can possess, and that everything that comes after will be a sad decline. But in reality, says Wendy Lustbader, youth is not the golden era it is often made out to be. For many, it is a time riddled with anxiety, angst, confusion, and the torture of uncertainty. Conversely, the media often feeds us a vision of growing older as a journey of defeat and diminishment. They are dead wrong. As Lustbader counters, "Life gets better as we get older, on all levels except the physical."
Life Gets Better is not a precious or whimsical tome on the quirky wisdom of the elderly. Lustbader-who has worked for several decades as a social worker specializing in aging issues-conducted firsthand research with aging and elderly people in all walks of life, and she found that they overwhelmingly spoke of the mental and emotional richness they have drawn from aging. Lustbader discovered that rather than experiencing a decline from youth, aging people were happier, more courageous, and more interested in being true to their inner selves than were young people.
Life Gets Better examines through first-person stories, as well as Lustbader's own observations, how a lifetime of lessons learned can yield one of the most personally and emotionally fruitful periods of anyone's life. As an eighty-six-year-old who contributed her story to the book noted, "For me, being old is the reward for outlasting all the big and little problems that happen to all of us along life's pathway."
The collected stories in Life Gets Better provide a hopeful corrective to the fear of aging aggressively instilled in us by the media. Don't dread the future: The best years of our lives just may be ahead.
Book News Annotation:
Lustbader, an author, social worker, and professor who works with older people, their families and caregivers, draws on the stories of her friends and clients, her own experiences, and other sources to illustrate how life gets better as people age. She argues that worshiping youth is an error, and shows how self-knowledge, gratitude, recognition of commonalities, relationships, spirituality, generosity, insight, understanding what matters, and self-confidence grow as people age. Dealing with loss becomes easier, hindsight offers new perspective, and other aspects of life become clearer. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Wendy Lustbader, M.S.W., is an author, professor, and social worker who specializes in working with older people, their families, and caregivers, and lectures nationally on subjects related to aging. Lustbader is the author of Taking Care of Aging Family Members, coauthored with Nancy Hooyman; Counting on Kindness; and What's Worth Knowing. She lives in Seattle.
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Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Aging