The American attitude towards death is to pretend it won't happen to us and we won't be like those people who wind up in nursing homes. In addition to her extensive theater and voice-over work, she teaches college in her home state of Michigan. One criticism is that the book, published in 2011, already feels a bit dated, as politics and the economy have changed. Forget about those dreams of dropping dead on the tennis court or in a lover's arms at age 95. Do some kind of useful work - paid or volunteer - as long as you can. I so appreciated what Jacoby was espousing. Will my money run out? Drawing on research, personal experience, and anecdotes, she offers an important reality check for Americans enamored of the images of healthy, active seniors featured in advertisements.
Bush may have gone skydiving for his 90th birthday, but if you are lucky enough to live that long, chances you will not be able to do anything like that because you'll be suffering from a number of physical problems and possibly Alzheimer's to boot. . She also has some words of advice for those who are, or will be, the old old. Eliminating Medicare is scary; here in Canada we have universal health care, and while not perfect, there is not that fear. It is a life-affirming and powerful message that has never been more relevant. Aging is going to be hard and our collective self-denial of its reality is only setting us up for major despair. Pseu: How do you plan to get around? Third, she explores the economic status of old people, many of whom have insufficient resources.
I thought it was about dying and one has to be in a particular mood to read about dying so it just kept sitting there on the shelf. This wide-ranging reappraisal examines the explosion of Alzheimer's cases, the uncertain economic future of aging boomers, the predicament of women who make up an overwhelming majority of the oldest--and poorest--old, and the illusion that we can control the way we age and die. If I'd had to continue working, how would she have managed by herself all day? The author compares the U. As a single woman with no children, Jacoby doesn't have the fantasy that somebody will be there to take care of her. I especially like how Jacoby ties in the need for older and younger people to recognize that we have to work on developing a health care system and a social safety net system that is mutually balanced.
Jacoby began with the Browning poem, Rabbi ben Ezra, Grow old with me, the best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first is made… and argued that one could just as easily be ill or stupid during old age instead of wise and fit. She was quite a character. She writes The Spirited Atheist blog for On Faith, a website sponsored by The Washington Post. Jacoby does not want to serve as a destroyer of hope. Yes, many of the elderly have gained wisdom during the long lives. Her book speaks to Americans, whatever their age, who draw courage and hope from facing reality instead of embracing that oldest of delusions, the fountain of youth. It's a fact - my body will age and possibly in unpredictable ways physically and mentally.
She's hardly alone in yearning for breakthrough therapies for Alzheimer's and related disorders, the illness seniors fear more than cancer. It also prevents us from understanding that no individual can save enough to support themselves through a long old age, if that old age includes the infirmities that claim most of us. At eighty-nine, she is too frail. It was more a tirade about the things we are willing to do with the fantasy that they will somehow keep us from dying. Don't feel that aging successfully requires you to be a serene, above-it-all, smiley-faced optimist. He was correct, but so was I.
The substantive content of this book could fit nicely in the pages of a magazine article. We should try to be prepared. Since I am only 59 years old as of next week right now, I have no way of knowing how I will feel on this topic when I am truly elderly. People who had been dancers in the 30s, Army officers, mothers of 8. Now would be a good time. Jacoby challenges the notion that living longer without the benefit of economic independence and a healthy body is not that great of a situation.
Laural Merlington is an audiobook narrator with over two hundred titles to her credit and a winner of multiple Earphones Awards. Again, this book is heavy and not for most. Measured by their own yardstick. But safety is not necessarily the most important thing in life. Susan Jacoby is a good writer. This article ran in the February 17, 2011, issue of the magazine. Today, as the oldest boomers turn sixty-five, it is imperative for them to distinguish between marketing hype and realistic hope about what lies ahead for the more than 70 million Americans who will be beyond the traditional retirement age by 2030.
Those whose lives have been defined by boredom, dishonesty, and intellectual laziness also continue their earlier course. My subject was the process of aging, and the ways in which current gerontological research is teaching us to deal with it. But it turns out that what they were really struggling with besides poverty, pain and loneliness was loss of their sense of their own value. The idea that a secular government is, in fact, necessary for the existence of religious liberty, has also been defended by Susan Jacoby. And there is dog for every need. She laments the legal requirement that people be kept alive when they wisely and knowingly consider death a preferable alternative. Her book speaks to Americans, whatever their age, who draw courage and hope from facing reality instead of embracing that oldest of delusions, the fountain of youth.
Jacoby doesn't have answers for us, but she does pose the questions that many of us avoid asking, much less attempt to answer. Wow, I could talk on this subject for hours. I'm grateful she could afford it. Unlike Anonymous, I don't want to miss the experience of dying. Such a prospect is a myth that is enhanced and reinforced by the marketing of products that are said to fend off the erosions of old age.