I don’t know if I have the words to properly explain what a great book this is. My parents are just approaching their senior years and I have a Bubby (grandmother) who is in her 80s and lives in an assisted living facility.
I will admit though that old age scares me a little bit. Not so much me getting old (I don’t pluck or hide my grey hair,) but dealing with older people. That’s really a problem with a lot of people though. Isabel Tom addresses these issues and more.
The author grew up with her grandparents living with her (Mama and YeYe) as well as her parents and siblings. Not only that she also has served in the senior and hospice field for years. She knows seniors. She has seen old age and I don’t just mean the “scary” parts like death or sickness. She has seen what the elderly have to offer us.
“Our negative perceptions toward aging aren’t confined to our minds or even to the wall of our home. Our negative views poison the individuals around us, and they can even endanger the entire older adult population. In 2018, older adults accounted for sixteen percent of the population, an estimated 52.3 million people. By 2040, that number is projected to jump to 82.3 million older adults.”
The Value of Wrinkles by Isabel Tom pg 25
Throughout the book, the author includes quotes from senior citizens and some younger adults, some happy and some sad.
She also includes a Take Notes section to help you rethink what the chapter was about and help you change how you act or think about the topic at hand. For example in in the chapter I’ve Got Time for You the Take Notes section talks about how to talk to older adults. It gives ideas of how to open up conversation when you feel awkward and what sorts of questions to ask different types of adults.
She covers chapters on:
dealing with our thoughts on old age
how to make time for your loved ones who are advancing in age
how invitations can make all the difference
stories from her years working with the elderly
how an older person is an untapped resource
how you should step up
what to do with an older person who is irritable and argumentative
how you can turn sadness as an older family member’s decline into gratitude for what they can do
how the term it takes a village to raise a child should also include to care for the elderly
what the sweet spot is and how to take advantage of it
stories of her Mama’s last years
how the way your life is now will dictate how your elderly life will be and changes you may want to make now
how to make sure an older person’s last years, months or weeks include a good send off.
The author does an amazing job of tackling issues we sometimes find uncomfortable and if enough people read her book and practice it’s ideas, hopefully we can start to see old age as a wonderous time, instead of the end of our good years.