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Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives Paperback – Unabridged, April 30, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
This intriguing book brings many of those same factors to light and reveals that growing old, can also mean a time of renewed energy and vitality, expanded intellectual knowledge, spiritual growth, active participation, and emotional and physical well being. The book is extremely well researched and well written. Regardless of age, there is a lot to be learned here that we can all put to good use in a quest for a long, happy, healthy and fulfilling life.
Professor Snowdon is an epidmiologist who has had great success with studying religious communities. Because of the similar environments and habits involved, these communities can more clearly demonstrate the factors that favor or disfavor disease. He has also done work with Seventh Day Adventists and diet, for example.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame is a teaching order, and its members are highly educated. For example, of the elderly nuns studied 85 percent held bachelor's degrees and 45 percent master's degrees. This is in sharp contrast with the rarity of these degrees in the general population among women of similar ages. Obviously, they have also led a life of strenuous service to God and to teaching others.
The study benefits from many other unique qualities. Each nun also wrote an autobiography when she was young, and just joining the order. As a result, it is possible to go back and study those writings. The sisters have also generously agreed to donate their brains for research when they die. This means that the physical brains can be compared to the results of cognitive and physical tests to see what the causes of mental and physical dysfunctions might be.
Early in the study, Professor Snowdon also gained another advantage.Read more ›
I picked up this book because my great-great-aunt, Sister Matthia Gores, is one of the nuns "featured" in it. (She died a couple years back, just shy of her 105th birthday.)
I found the science interesting; but the book does not offer a blueprint to growing older without losing mental faculties or growing frail. It turns out the science is giving a more complicated picture of aging than that.
But what really appeals to me about this story is the desire of these women to keep growing their minds right up to the ends of their lives. (One nun got a masters in theology when she was 71; one began missionary service in Africa only when she reached her 70s.) It is this faith that we can continue to expand our own human potential while serving God and our fellow humans that makes this book such a delightful read.
I don't care if I live to 105, but I hope I can be as brave about seizing opportunities to grow as these wonderful women have been.
On the other hand, there is not a lot of information on the causes of Alzheimer's in the book--there's a little on free radicals and some of the Alzheimer genes. For that type information I would recommend an excellent book titled "Decoding Darkness" by Tanzi and Parson -- it provided a very clear presentation of what we know about the causes of Alzheimer's especially the genes involved.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book! Reads like a story but without the dry journal article style submissions.Published 2 days ago by Rachelle
Incredible book: I read this for a Gerontology class. I was truly captivated by the background stories of the Sisters. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Wendy
This book is so well written and readable. He weaves the story of his research project around the lives of particular nuns who illustrate the topic of that chapter. Read morePublished 9 months ago by N. Roberts
I gave this book to my sister who studied with these nuns in Wisconsin. It brought back many memories for her. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Cynthia M. Welton