#NFBookClub Discussion Part 2

December 20, 2015 Uncategorized 8

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I was surprised to find this book both emotional and informative. I hope you all got as much out of it as I did! I also finished this book hoping that medical professionals are reading it. It’s definitely a book I think I should pick up again as I confront some of the difficult life events the author discusses. The second half of the book didn’t raise too many more questions for me, but here are the ones I’ve thought of.

  1. Are you surprised by the impact the addition of animals, children, and/or a little autonomy has on the lives of nursing home residents?
  2. Do you feel optimistic about the way aging and dying are handled in the American health care system?
  3. Is there anything in the second half of the book that you found particularly surprising or interesting?
  4. What did you think of the book overall?Any other thoughts you’d like to share before we wrap up?

Since I’m getting this post done a little late and it’s a busy time of year, I’ll be sure to leave the link-up open into January. We’ll also skip the read-along in January, so I can get on a schedule where we do the book polls a little earlier to give everyone more time to find the book. Look for a February poll in early January!

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1. I never would have thought of adding animals or children to nursing home life, because I wasn’t sure that was possible. Even though autonomy was something I thought was obviously lacking in the nursing homes described in the first part of the book, I was  unsure how much that was possible too. However, it seems intuitive and unsurprising that these things would improve quality of life and I’m surprised they aren’t standard now that they’ve been shown to work.

2. Mostly yes.Overall, having read the second half of the book, it seems to me that things are generally headed in the right direction. It seems as though there are good nursing homes, doctors, and palliative care options out there. The fact that even doctors had trouble navigating the healthcare system as patients is depressing though.

3. After the first half of the book, I was surprised that there are so many good options out there. However, I’m also surprised that so many less good options still exist, given that there are better, affordable options. I’m unpleasantly surprised by how bad doctors seem to be at giving people realistic survival chances, but pleasantly surprised that more people are taking advantage of palliative care and are able to die at home with their families.

4. I think this was very well written and worthwhile. After my initial surprise that this book relied so heavily on anecdotes, I’m incredibly impressed by how well the author managed to convey the big picture – even if I’d still love more stats!

8 Responses to “#NFBookClub Discussion Part 2”

  1. Jancee @ Jancee's Reading Journal

    1.Are you surprised by the impact the addition of animals, children, and/or a little autonomy has on the lives of nursing home residents?
    -I’m not. From what I understand, older adults are frustrated by their own inabilities to function normally, their loneliness, and their lack of autonomy. But by adding autonomy and pure, joyous life to their lives, they come alive again as well. They don’t want to lie stagnant in a room, they want to be active and part of a community.
    2.Do you feel optimistic about the way aging and dying are handled in the American health care system?
    -Meh. Some things are great, but others are not. When hospitals close geriatrics units due to profit loss, that shows regression. But newer, forward thinking approaches to aging are helping tremendously. I think the best thing that could help would be for America to stop worrying so much about profit and start seeing the humanity in people.
    3.Is there anything in the second half of the book that you found particularly surprising or interesting?
    -Not really. It was fairly similar to the first half!!
    4.What did you think of the book overall? Any other thoughts you’d like to share before we wrap up?
    -I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t originally going to read it, but I’m glad I picked it up. It was definitely different than what I expected. And it makes me really glad that, at least for the moment, my grandma is living with my aunt instead of being in a home or in assisted living.

    • DoingDewey

      I agree – it seems intuitive that adding children and plants, autonomy and things to care about to the lives of the elderly would make their lives better. It made it surprising to me that this isn’t done everywhere. I suspect that, as you point out, a focus on profit is a big part of the problem.

  2. Kim @Time2Read

    I really wish I’d had time to read this. My copy came in a few days ago, and of course, this week is not the week to attempt to get it read. Since you are skipping a Jan read-along, I may just try to make this an after Christmas read.

    • DoingDewey

      That sounds fun! You can always check out the discussion if you’re interested as you read on your own schedule. I hope you like this one as much as I did 🙂

  3. Brona

    I’ll reply further when I finish the book, but I can answer Q1 now.
    In Australia it is fairly common for preschools and child care centres to visit and spend time with the elderly, but they tend to be events – a Christmas concert or craft day.
    We also have child care centres exploring having pets as part of the daily program (& not just fish or birds in a cage – chickens, dogs, cats as well). So if we can do it at that level, we can do it with the elderly too 🙂
    Although the red tape to jump through is horrendous. That’s the same everywhere!!

    Thanks for hosting this readalong.
    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this book. It has thrown up lots of thought-provoking ideas about how Mr Books and I want to plan our later years together.
    It has also made us appreciate how organised our parents have been around this issue already.

    • DoingDewey

      Wow, I love that kids and pets are a regular part of the lives of the elderly! I still think of that as something unusual in the US, although I don’t have much personal experience backing that impression.

      Thanks for joining in! This made me think a lot about planning for my future and my husband’s as well.

  4. Shay

    I finally finished this! (I was listening to it as an audiobook only in the car while driving). While I also would have loved more time spent delving into the available studies on the subject, I thought the cases he presented did a good job of conveying the importance of putting more emphasis on quality of life instead of just safety, or fighting to the bitter end. I think it would also have been useful to include a compendium of some of the good or useful questions he learned about for having productive conversations about these hard topics.

    • DoingDewey

      I have a much shorter commute this semester, so audiobooks are taking me a very long time to get through right now! Did you enjoy the narration on this one?

      I agree that it would have been interesting to have more details of the science – I always want more science! – but I also agree that he made a strong case anyway. I would have loved a compendium of what he learned. I tried to note down some of the questions and lessons that I thought were the most important, but I think I’ll probably end up revisiting this book at times when it becomes relevant to my life.

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