So far, this book has included more stories and less science than I expected, but I’ve still been enjoying it and feel as though I’m learning a lot. I hope you’re all having a good time with it too! I know it’s the busy holiday season right now, so I appreciate you all taking the time to join in. If you want to hop in the google doc discussion anytime this month, you can find it here. Our discussion questions for the first half of the book are below.
- Is the book what you expected so far?
- Have you learned anything that’s surprised you?
- Has this book made you think differently about what you might do as your parents age? As you age?
- Of all the aging experiences the author describes, do any sound appealing to you?
- Do you have any ideas for what could be done to make the aging experience in the developed world better?
1. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I expected more science and fewer anecdotes. However, so far, I think that choice was a good one. It seems as though happiness isn’t prioritized in retirement homes, in part because it’s difficult to measure, so the science and statistics I would like in addition to the anecdotes might not even exist.
2. What surprised me most was when the book got me thinking about how many health issues are inevitable due to aging, even in the developed world. For instance, I’d always taken it for granted that people lose their teeth when they get older and never wondered why this isn’t something we can prevent.
3. Oh yes! So far, it’s made me think that starting to see a gerontologist at some point is essential. I don’t feel as though anything the author has presented so far seems like a good option, unless you can find an assisted living facility that still matches the original vision for assisted living. I’m hoping that I’ll remember for my parents and that someone will remember for me that happiness can be more important than safety.
4. As I said in the previous question, no. I’m hoping we get to where the author mentions something better, because it currently sounds as though finding a really good (and probably really expensive) assisted living facility is the only potentially decent option.
5. Unfortunately, the main possibility I can think of is a better staff to elderly ratio at retirement homes or assisted living facilities. I am convinced that helping people continue to live independently is harder than simply taking care of them and probably requires more people, which means greater expenses that elderly people can’t all afford. Again, I’m hoping that with his greater knowledge of the topic, I’m hoping the author has other suggestions in the rest of the book.