Aging Our Way: Lessons for Living from 85 and Beyond

ISBN : 9780199797905

Meika Loe
344 ページ
160 x 236 mm

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.


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


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.