Great Discussions

Glowing Old: Aging Gracefully

Discussion Date: October 17, 2013


Cover Image The Gift of Years : Growing Older Gracefully
Chittister, Joan.
New York, NY : BlueBridge, c2008.

Not only accepting but also celebrating getting old, this inspirational and illuminating work looks at the many facets of the aging process, from purposes and challenges to struggles and surprises. Central throughout is a call to cherish the blessing of aging as a natural part of life that is active, productive, and deeply rewarding. Readers are encouraged to surmount their fears of getting older and find beauty in aging well.

Cover Image The Denial of Aging : Perpetual Youth, Eternal Life, and Other Dangerous Fantasies
Gillick, Muriel R., 1951-
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2006.

With passion and compassion, Gillick chronicles the stories of elders who have struggled with housing options, with medical care decisions, and with finding meaning in life. Skillfully incorporating insights from medicine, health policy, and economics, she lays out action plans for individuals and for communities. In addition to doing all we can to maintain our health, we must vote and organize--for housing choices that consider autonomy as well as safety, for employment that utilizes the skills and wisdom of the elderly, and for better management of disability and chronic disease.

Cover Image The Art of Growing Old : Aging with Grace
Hennezel, Marie de, 1946-
New York : Viking, 2012.

Combining personal anecdotes with psychological theory, philosophy, and eye-opening scientific research from around the world, de Hennezel shows why people should look forward to embracing everything aging has to offer in terms of human and spiritual enrichment.

Cover Image Winning Strategies for Successful Aging
Pfeiffer, Eric, 1935-
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, c2013.

For thirty years Dr. Pfeiffer has cared for-and learned from-elderly people. His advice is easy to read, easy to follow, and full of wisdom. Each chapter of his book is short and practical, and each may be read on its own. Winning Strategies for Successful Aging answers these important questions and more: What should I consider when choosing where to live in my retirement? What do I need to do to maintain my health-including mental health-as I get older? How do I protect my financial assets? How can I best maintain my independence? How can I have a deeper spiritual life? Is it possible for me to maintain a sexual life? What can I do to ensure that I have a good ending to my life?

Cover Image Aging Well : Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life From the Landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development
Vaillant, George E., 1934-
Boston : Little, Brown, c2002.

For the first time, the results of more than fifty years of research at the Harvard Medical School are being made public, and they reveal an extraordinary set of conclusions about how men and women can lead a happier, more fulfilling, healthier life. The author’s conclusion is that individual lifestyle choices play a greater role than genetics, wealth, race, or other factors. Dr. Vaillant offers step-by-step advice about how we can change our lifestyle and live a more fulfilling, satisfying, and rewarding life in the later years.


Keeping the Gold in the "Golden Years" - Staying Healthy As We Age. Judy Costlow
Women's Health Activist. 38.2 (March-April 2013): p1
I have been aging for decades, but it only took me one year to grow old! "Things" can happen quickly in our lives as we age, and we may not be prepared to handle them. Loss of a loved one, a stroke, a broken hip, heart attack, and diabetes are all too common for older folks. What can we do to better prepare ourselves for healthier aging? Part of the answer, which this article explores, lies in building and maintaining social connections, keeping physically fit, and avoiding falls.

Getting Older and Older. Gerald F. Kreyche.
USA Today (Magazine). 316.2752 (Jan. 2008) p82.
Getting old is a one time experience, so make the most of it--and remember, getting old is not for sissies. Regardless of euphemisms such as senior citizens, gray panthers, golden agers, etc., the fact is when you're old, you're old! The important thing is to grow old gracefully and with as little anxiety as possible. It has its highlights and good points, such as escape from the nearly unending hustle-bustle of younger years when you were still trying to "make it."

The Myth of Aging Gracefully. Susan Jacoby.
Newsweek. 157.06 (Feb. 7, 2011) p14.
Who wants to live to 100? Just about everyone, if old age fulfills the fantasy that we can sail through our 90s with vigorous bodies and minds and die instantly of a heart attack, preferably while making love or running the last of many marathons. As the oldest baby boomers turn 65, it is past time to take a realistic look at old age as it is--not as a minor inconvenience to be remedied by longevity-worshiping hucksters of "anti-aging" supplements or brain-teasing computer games, not as a "disease" that will soon by "cured" by a medical miracle, and not as an experience to be defied and denied, in the spirit of a 2008 World Science Festival panel on aging titled "90 Is the New 50." No, it's not. It's not even the new 70.

The Years Go by Lessons on Aging Gracefully. Cinnamon Pettijohn.
Vibrant Life. 29.1 (January-February 2013) p34.
What's that? You're turning 29 again this year? For the twentieth year in a row. ... In a society obsessed with youth, it's tempting to cling to the past and resist the aging process. But the key to a vibrant life is not trying to recapture the past, but rather embracing your age (yes, the real one) and celebrating the years.


A short, readable article for the lay person that provides some helpful suggestions for aging gracefully.

Psychology Today
This one-pager offers five hints for aging gracefully

Dr Andrew Weil
Short and readable, this article discusses various health, financial, and lifestyle choices that affect the quality of aging.

The Daily Beast
Confronts an overly optimistic view of aging by acknowledging that in general, physical and financial burdens mount as people move beyond their 60s and 70s.

L.A Times
Contains numerous short pieces on various issues related to aging and quality of life.

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Last modified on Thursday, September 19, 2013