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Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life Kindle Edition
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"Exquisitely written . . . [Aronson] advocates a new paradigm: a re-balancing act in which technology has a role but the focus returns to care. Unlike the high-tech, algorithmic march of modern medicine, her idea of truly ‘personalized medicine’ incorporates the patient’s past experiences and current expectations. This integrative, humanistic model of geriatrics is rare. One can only hope its practices are adopted swiftly." - Nature
“Wise and engaging.” ―AARP Magazine
"Bracing, always compassionate." - Wall Street Journal, Best Books About Retirement and Aging of 2019
“A passionate, deeply informed critique of how our healthcare system fails in its treatment of the elderly . . . Vitally important . . . Though the subject of this provocative book is the elderly, its message touches the entire span of human life.” ―BookPage
“Eloquent and impressive . . . A landmark work . . . In a world of increasing numbers of older adults, Aronson's highly readable, absorbing, and thought-provoking book should serve as a guide for how our culture must change in order to provide a future in which all of us can age well throughout the span of our lives.” ―Changing Aging
“[A] penetrating meditation on geriatrics . . . Aronson's deep empathy, hard-won knowledge, and vivid reportage makes for one of the best accounts around of the medical mistreatment of the old.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An examination of aging and the human condition encompassing poignant stories and the viewpoints of medical experts, writers, historians, and scientists . . . Empathetic, probing, and often emotionally moving narratives on appreciating the power and the pain of aging.” ―Kirkus, starred review
"A bold critique of our anti-aging society and of the medical care seniors receive. . . This book, part memoir, part critique and part prescription, encourages readers to help put an end to the anti-aging industry and its profiteers, to engage in better self-care and to collectively ask the medical community to look at elderhood not as a disease." - The Missourian
"[A] vast and penetrating analysis…With strong empathy that comes from both a professional understanding of and personal experience with the challenges of aging, Aronson provides an essential guide to how society in general and the health-care industry in particular must recalibrate their approach to providing concerned and competent elder care. Thought provoking and wise, Aronson’s memoir-cum-treatise should be required reading for medical professionals and will be of great use for seniors and those who support them." - Booklist, starred review
“Monumental . . . Elderhood, like the life station it studies, is dynamic, multifaceted and full of wonder. Aronson’s writing, too, flexes with vibrant energy as she discusses in lucid, candid detail the ways she has seen the healthcare system neglect the overall well-being of her patients, her colleagues and herself . . . Intimidating as it may seem, elderhood becomes welcoming and generous in Aronson's deft care." - Shelf Awareness, starred review
“An in-depth, unusually frank exploration of biases that distort society's view of old age and that shape dysfunctional health policies and medical practices.” ―Kaiser Health News
“Aronson's Elderhood is dazzling, rich with knowledge gleaned from her professional work as a geriatrician, her personal experience as a daughter, her common sense, and her thorough analysis of our social supports and cultural messaging. Her arguments are powerful, and her conclusions are revolutionary. I hope everyone who has a stake in older people, which is ultimately all of us, will read this book.” ―Mary Pipher, author of WOMEN ROWING NORTH
“In the latter years there are possibilities for joy, transcendence, and meaning, but also for just the opposite. Aronson writes like a memoirist while giving us scientific insight, philosophical wisdom, and wise counsel for a journey and destination we all share. Elderhood is a lovely and thoughtful exploration of this voyage.” ―Abraham Verghese, author of CUTTING FOR STONE
“In Elderhood, the physician-writer Louise Aronson provides an honest and humane analysis of what it means to grow old in America. Her book--part memoir, history, and social critique--is deeply sympathetic to elders and sharply critical of the "anti-aging industry" that has tried to turn being elderly into some sort of disease. I highly recommend this wonderful book to anyone who plans on growing old in this country.” ―Sandeep Jauhar, author of HEART: A HISTORY
“As Louise Aronson says, 'Life offers just two possibilities: die young or grow old.' This searing, luminous book is for everyone who hopes to accomplish the latter and remain fully human as they do. It will challenge your assumptions and open your mind--and it just might change your life.” ―Lucy Kalanithi, MD, editor of WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR
“In Elderhood, Louise Aronson draws on the experiences of her own life and the many lives she has touched as a geriatrician to think about age and aging, combining the insights of science and medicine with the wisdom of literature and human history, all narrated with the practical realism of the caring clinician. It's a wise and beautiful book, to be cherished by anyone who hopes to keep on growing, aging, and learning.” ―Perri Klass, MD
“The book that every one of us has been or will be looking for--a passionate, illuminating, brilliant, and beautifully written meditation on aging and caring for elders, Elderhood is a godsend.” ―Pauline Chen, MD, author of FINAL EXAM
"A book that needs to be consulted by every care giver and health professional for the wisdom it contains." - Sun News Tucson
“An intimate look into how the aging process affects real lives and a non-didactic take on the importance of health care.” ―San Francisco Chronicle on A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
“Dr. Aronson writes lovely, nuanced description.” ―The New York Times on A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
“The ethical dilemmas that abound in medicine are prominent but never swamp the stories: these are tales about people, as insightfulas Lorrie Moore or Alice Munro.” ―The Independent on A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
“A fascinating study of our fragile human condition, both physical and emotional. Here is a writer-and a doctor-whose empathy . . . springs forth on every page.” ―Peter Orner on A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
“If you've ever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of the sick and the wounded--not on television or in movies but really--then this is the book for you. Compassionate and even anguished . . . It it has the palette and the ring of truth.” ―Victoria Sweet, author of GOD'S HOTEL, on A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
“Invites us to bear witness as people--with very little fanfare, but with a profound sense of truth--to come to terms with what it really means to be a flawed, sick human being in a flawed, sick world.” ―Chris Adrian, M.D., author of THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL on A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
“A History of the Present Illness is a collection of stories about doctors and their patients, and about the chronic and presenting situations that bring them to crisis. Eudora Welty described the work of another physician/story writer by saying that 'Chekhov's candor was exploratory and painstaking -- he might have used it as the doctor in him would know how, treating the need for truth between human beings as an emergency,' words that seem to me to also apply here. Aronson's quest, too, is for that truth.” ―Antonya Nelson, author of BOUND, on A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
“Aronson's examination of medical culture in stories, of the brutality and tenderness at home and hospital, is a gem. [Her] voice is tender and one from which I hope we'll hear more histories in the future.” ―Washington Independent Review of Books on A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
“Aronson effectively illustrates just how jumbled life can be. Hope is limping barely one step ahead of sadness. Human devotion and division, responsibility to self and others are only a smidgen of the subject matter examined by talented and knowledgeable Aronson.” ―Booklist on A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT ILLNESS
About the Author
- ASIN : B07QLN3Z8J
- Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing; 1st edition (June 11, 2019)
- Publication date : June 11, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 6624 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 453 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1620405466
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,723 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Elderhood is not a “how-to” book that treads over the same old tired ground. Rather, it’s a book that tackles why aging must be understood and redefined and why the medical establishment’s usual goals of saving lives and curing disease is misplaced and ill-advised in many older patients.
I’m going to pause a moment in this review to say that I was the point person for my own once vibrant elderly mother, who died at age 93 after a 10-year downward spiral. I saw first-hand how healthcare, well-meaning though it was, often acted counterintuitively. Dr. Aronson makes many excellent points including these:
*All top-ranked health systems on the planet rely on primary care to keep people healthy. In the U.S., ranked 37th among nations by the World Health Organization, we have trouble recruiting physicians to primary care since those doctors are paid on average over $100,000 less than specialists. As a result, we focus on high-tech solutions rather than commonsense ones.
*Pharmaceutical trials focus mostly on middle-aged, not elderly, targets. As a result, the side effects in the elderly are often minimized or glossed over entirely. Moreover, many older patients (my mom was one of them) are prescribed multiple drugs that interact with each other and cause more harm than good.
*It is easier for the elderly to get a cochlear implant than a hearing aid or laser treatments instead of eyeglasses. Yet a simple “fix” can do wonders by providing the elderly with a healthier, fully-engaged life.
*Being “old” should not be classified as 65+. In reality, people in the Third Age of life (the young-old) have vast differences in health, activities and consumer roles. They are very distinct from the “old-old” who are truly infirm and dependent.
*Successful aging is possible for those who do not perceive meaning in aging itself, but instead, perceive meaning in being themselves in old age. Adaptability and self-acceptance are key.
I could go on and on – just about every page has insights on how we, as a society, can reimagine life and why it’s crucial to do so, since someone who is 65 years old and relatively healthy will very likely live to 90. This well-written, easily accessible book should be mandatory for anyone entering medical school or politics, and certainly for every person who is affected by aging (i.e., all of us).
1. It is a great read. Dr. Aronson is a really great writer. It is an enjoyable read. She also has an extensive vocabulary and so I even learned some new words. Always a bonus!
2. Aronson has a unique perspective being that she is a doctor and is a geriatrician and professor and author and also has experience has an adult daughter to a dying parent. All these roles contribute to this book.
3. We go on a journey with her to find her own unique calling in the medical field which is telling.
4. She sees the problems in our healthcare system. She has experienced them from both sides.
5. She gives a list of ten "assumptions" she'd like to see in a new paradigm in the healthcare field. They are truly people-centered. They are found on page 378 and I want to list them here:
"While the terms medicine and health care are often used interchangeably, they are not equivalent.
"Health matters more to both individuals and society than medicine.
"Medicine and medical science are not the same thing; the latter is one component of the former.
"Science is necessary but not sufficient to ensure health or provide health care.
"When we make data all that matters, we often count what can be counted rather than what counts.
"Technology creates new problems and questions even as it solves others; to be useful, it requires guiding principles and thoughtful consideration of risks and consequences as well as benefits.
"Separating the medical from the human leads to a separateion of the medical from the human.
"History, with its inherent conservatism and tendency to conform to the self-interest of the powerful, has been science's partner in shaping our health care system.
"As an institution, medicine should prioritize the interests of the people over its own.
"The primary goal of medicine is optimization of patient health."
6. She shares the challenges of changing the whole health care system and how it got to the point it is.
7. She makes it clear that all people, no matter their age or abilities, should be treated with dignity and given care. No part of the population is less valuable than another part.
Oh, there are so many reasons this book should be read by many. I hope you take the time to read it. It will change your view of healthcare and medicine and life itself.
Top reviews from other countries
At first, I found this an incredibly engaging read - in many places, treading new ground in how we view the elderly and their care. Dr Aronson shares valuable insights into her experiences as a training doctor, as a geriatrician, and most importantly, as a caregiver. She engaged me throughout with many interesting stories of the many elderly patients she has taken care of over the course of her career - humanising them, sharing with the world the value that specialist geriatric care can provide, and showing through example why it is important to reshape the way we think about ageing and the elderly.
However, in spite of this initial engagement, I found the layout of the book slightly haphazard - jumping from topic-to-topic, from patient, to philosophy, to biography, to sociology. Dr Aronson shares with us her perspective on a great variety of topics - gender inequality, physician reimbursement, "privilege" and the influence this has on the care patients receive. Personally, I bought this book due to what is described in the title and description - the trail-treading take that Dr Aronson gives us on patient care. I would have enjoyed the book much more had it not included much of these diversions, and had it been slightly less repetitive about some of the concepts it presents about how we, as a society, view elderhood.
In summary, I highly recommend that you give this book a read if you are someone who wants to learn more about what it means to be elderly in our society; if you have an interest in geriatrics; if you are a caregiver; or (as Dr Aronson points it) - if you're human, as most of us will grow old some day! Just be aware that while this is a fascinating read, you may find yourself battling through the rest of the book about halfway through.