Drawing on her experiences of growing up with elderly grandparents living in her home and her ten-year career in senior care, Isabel Tom encourages us to love and value the older generations among us.
She begins by pointing out the fearful and negative attitude our culture has toward aging and toward the elderly. We pluck white hairs, buy wrinkle cream, and get Botox treatments. We ignore, neglect, and make jokes about older people. “In a time when our society is increasingly sensitive toward racism, sexism, and other social injustices, isn’t it odd we are so at ease with belittling the older generation?” Tom asks.
The rest of the book could basically be summarized in the Golden Rule (“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”) as Tom explores topics such as in-home care vs. nursing homes, ways to show honor and respect, the value and untapped resources the elderly can offer, how to handle “lemons” (difficult people), building caregiver teams, talking about and preparing well for death, and more. Her own experiences with her grandparents are her primary source and a key part of the book. Each chapter ends with tips or practical ways to put what you’ve read into action.
On one hand, you could say that mostly this book is common sense. What do all people need? Love. Respect. How should we treat the elderly? With love and respect. In that regard, this book can at times feel repetitive. On the other hand, sometimes it is helpful to have someone share their experience and help us think more intentionally about our attitudes and actions, as well as maybe some issues we haven’t considered or some circumstances we may encounter as we and those we love grow older. Tom, and this book, is an example of that “someone.”
While this book is published and marketed by Christian labels, there are no Bible verses, few references to God/church/etc. and the book would likely not be offensive to someone of other/no faith.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Northfield/Moody) in exchange for my review.