Can you give me a book recommendation for a book club? We are a small group of women in our sixties. I'm familiar with books that are focused on caregiving for our aged parents. But we prefer one that deals with our aging selves and how to live a good and safe life as we live into our 80s and 90s - with or without various impairments related to aging. Judy U., Fort Collins, CO
What a fabulous idea for a book club! Not only will your group learn and enjoy the book more by sharing insights, but as aging research has shown, just spending time with friends is a key ingredient of healthy aging and longevity. So tackling these kinds of books is a win-win for everyone.
There are several books that I can suggest.
I’ll start with A Long Bright Future: Happiness, Health and Financial Security in an Age of Increased Longevity by Laura Carstensen PHD, the founding director of the Stanford (CA) Center on Longevity. Her research has demonstrated that as people get older they, in fact, become happier, more content and have a more positive outlook on the world. (For more on this, see her TedX Women talk - it’s superb). In her book, she writes about five myths about long life that you shouldn’t believe and how to re-envision long lives. I think these topics would offer good grist for a lively and meaningful discussion.
Healthy Aging by Andrew Weil MD, is also a good choice because he combines information about the biology of aging with actionable advice on lifestyle choices (nutrition, exercise, sleep, attitudes) that he says influences the quality of our lives as we age. In other words, how we care for ourselves now will determine in large part our wellbeing in the future. Reading this book with your friends could be a good opportunity to support each other in your resolutions to take better care of yourselves.
Younger Next Year (For Women): Live Strong, Fit and Sexy- Until You’re 80 and Beyond, by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge MD. This too is a good primer on the new science of aging (“decay is optional”) as well as a practical guide to maintaining good health and vitality. This is an approachable book - even humorous at times and it offers practical advice for improving your health in the years ahead.
Speaking of humor, if you want a good belly laugh, then by all means, read Billy Crystal’s new book, Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell are My Keys? It was recommended to me, so I listened to an excerpt of his recording of it on Amazon and it was hilarious. You might even want to consider scheduling two meetings so your book group can listen to the entire book on CD. His presentation makes it that much more enjoyable and you’d all share some good laughs.