Synopses & Reviews
As revelatory as Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, physician and award-winning author Louise Aronson's Elderhood is an essential, empathetic look at a vital but little respected stage of life.
For more than 5,000 years, "old" has been defined as beginning between the ages of 60 and 70. That means most people alive today will spend more years in elderhood than in childhood, and many will be elders for 40 years or more. Yet at the very moment that humans are living longer than ever before, we've made old age into a disease, a condition to be dreaded, disparaged, neglected, and denied.
Reminiscent of Oliver Sacks, 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 humanity itself.
Elderhood is for anyone who is, in the author's own words, "an aging, i.e., still-breathing human being."
About the Author
Louise Aronson is a doctor, writer, and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. The author of A History of the Present Illness, she has received a MacDowell fellowship, the Sonora Review prize, and four Pushcart nominations. In medicine, she has been recognized with a Gold Professorship for Humanism, the California Homecare Physician of the Year award, and the American Geriatrics Society Geriatrician of the Year award. Her writing has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Narrative Magazine, New England Journal of Medicine, and Bellevue Literary Review. She lives in San Francisco where she cares for older patients and directs UCSF Health Humanities.