Age appropriate

old ageReview by Jean Warriner

Book | Old Old Age: A Brief Guide | Ian Hansen

This book is written by a man in his late 80s. He tells of how the world has changed greatly from the one he grew up in.

Early in his life there was no electricity or any of the modern conveniences which we use today and have become dependent on. There were no televisions or refrigerators or washing machines. Cars and telephones were rare.

People talked instead of texted. They socialised and got to know each other. Most people went to church and their children went to Sunday school. This was how friendships were formed.

They didn’t believe in sex before marriage and faithfulness to one’s partner was

the norm.

Anyone who wanted a job could get one which then may have lasted until retirement.

Most men left school and began work, whereas for most women their path was school, work, marriage, housewife and raising children. After the children had grown up and left home, a woman may have re-joined the workforce.

Such a path can help women to be more adaptable and to be better able to cope with transition into retirement, the author critiques. Because a man’s life has been very much that of the ‘bread winner’, they are at risk of feeling obsolete. As women socialise more this may not affect them in the same way, “men share activities; women share feelings,” Hansen writes.

He also says that ageing can limit mobility so that one may grieve for the loss of friends and access to some of life’s past pleasures. The book advises it is important to keep active in retirement and to ease into it with part-time or casual work. For those who can travel, this has the benefit of making them feel younger.

Although I found this book difficult to read, particularly the first chapter, I believe it was worth the effort. It could be of interest to anyone who wants to know what it can be like to grow old and still live well.

Available from Australian Scholarly Publishing

RRP:  $29.95

This is the second of two reviews that Jean Warriner wrote during her university work experience at Crosslight in April. Jean worships at Ascot Vale Uniting Church.

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