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Aging Our Way
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In 1998, Hallmark unveiled their new "One-Hundredth-Birthday" cards, and by 2007 annual sales were at 85,000. America is rapidly graying: between now and 2030, the number of people in the U.S. over the age of 80 is expected to almost triple. But how long people live raises the question of how well they live. Aging Our Way follows the everyday lives of 30 elders (ages 85-102) living at home and mostly alone to understand how they create and maintain meaningful lives for themselves. Drawing on the latest interdisciplinary scholarship on aging and three years of interviews with the elders, Meika Loe explores how elders navigate the practical challenges of living as independently as possible while staying healthy, connected, and comfortable. While most books on the subject treat old age as a social problem and elders as simply diminished versions of their former selves, Aging Our Way views them as they really are: lively, complicated, engaging people finding creative ways to make their aging as meaningful and manageable as possible. In their own voices, elders describe how they manage everything from grocery shopping, doctor appointments, and disability, to creating networks of friends and maintaining their autonomy. In many ways, these elders can serve as role models. The lessons they have learned about living in moderation, taking time for themselves, asking for help, keeping a sense of humor, caring for others, and preparing for death provide an invaluable source of wisdom for anyone hoping to live a long and fulfilling life. Through their stories, Loe helps us to think about aging, well-being, and the value of human relationships in new ways. Written with remarkable warmth and depth of understanding, Aging Our Way offers a vivid look at a group of people who too often remain invisible-those who have lived the longest-and all they have to teach us.
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Table of Contents

Prologue: 30-60-90: A Short Meditation on Age and Perspective ; Introduction: Living at Home and Making it Work ; Lesson 1: Continue to Do What You Did ; Lesson 2: (Re) Design Your Living Space ; Lesson 3: Live in Moderation ; Lesson 4: Take Time for Self ; Lesson 5: Ask for Help; Mobilize Resources ; Lesson 6: Connect with Peers ; Lesson 7: Resort to Tomfoolery ; Lesson 8: Care for Others ; Lesson 9: Reach out to Family ; Lesson 10: Get Intergenerational; Redefine Family ; Lesson 11: Insist on Hugs ; Lesson 12: Be Adaptable ; Lesson 13: Accept and Prepare for Death ; Conclusion: New Perspectives on the Oldest Old ; Postscript: On Doing Ninety (by Ann, research participant) ; Epilogue: Updates on Study Participants ; Appendix: Best Practices in Supporting Aging in Place

About the Author

Meika Loe is Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at Colgate University and the author of The Rise of Viagra: How the Little Blue Pill Changed Sex in America.

Reviews

In this delightfully written book, Meika Loe illustrates how we continue to develop and become more diverse as we age. Aging Our Way is an engagingly written introduction to this new understanding of aging and will serve its readers well. * Peter V. Rabins, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, co-author of The 36-Hour Day * A lively, engaging, and moving read. Loe shows how the personal resources needed to cope with aging are closely tied to structural factors like race, class, gender, birth cohort, and socioeconomic status. Nearly any reader will find Aging Our Way relevant to their own life or the lives of their aging parents or relatives. * Deborah Carr, Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University * Useful for its thoroughness, examples of resiliency, and attention to this growing phenomenon. * CHOICE * Loe's writing is clear, jargon-free, and warm-she clearly likes and often admires her subjects. She has done an excellent job in organizing her book topically and lets her subjects speak for themselves, then distills their most important points. While there are few startling revelations, there is a great deal of wisdom. * Publisher's Weekly * Americans are living longer lives today than ever before. But are these quality years? How are we experiencing 'these additional years' in our 80s, 90s, and even 100s? In Meika Loe's Aging Our Way, men and women tell how they are making the best of their time, even with personal limitations. These 'ways of aging' are summed up as lessons for reflection and action. I urge you to read and share this inspiring book with others for it enriches understanding of life paths that many will follow. * Glen H. Elder, Jr., Howard W. Odum Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill *

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