Kirkus Reviews

“A wide-ranging manual focuses on the pleasures and pitfalls of aging in the 21st century. 

“Jensen opens her delightfully optimistic book, ironically enough, on a gloomy note: Many elements of 21st-century society genuinely seem geared to taking advantage of older people, even preying on them. These include judges, doctors, attorneys, pharmaceutical companies, and of course nursing homes, which “can imprison us against our will and drug us when we object.” But the author assures her readers that these factors need not be the only aspects of the admittedly daunting prospect of growing older. It’s possible, she maintains, for older people to reinvent themselves in their later years.

“In the course of her book, she examines many features of aging, from retirement and employment opportunities (including starting a business) to physical training and finding late-in-life romance. Jensen proposes dozens of alternatives for her readers about things to do with their time, often working in notes of personal humor that run throughout the book. “Volunteer work, chats with friends, book reading are all good for afternoons,” she writes. “Nights in the summer are for Mets games—I actually got tears in my eyes when MLB started its precarious short 2020 season.”

“She straightforwardly addresses practical matters like money (noting that more people are afraid of running out of funds than they are of actually dying), dispensing practical advice about maintaining a budget in retirement and supplementing social safety net payments with personal savings. The tone the author uses is a perfectly chosen combination of tough empiricism (there are no cuddly euphemisms here) and uplifting enthusiasm that allows her to warn against things like Social Security thieves and provide upbeat tips on such activities as volunteering and adopting an aging dog. Older readers worried about some facets of the stage of life they’re entering will find Jensen’s manual consistently helpful and invigorating. 

“A straightforward and utterly engaging one-stop guide to growing older. “

Midwest Book Reviews

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About AGING … But Were Afraid To Ask tackles all the difficult questions about aging that are intrinsic to the process, from increased difficulty finding the motivation or ability to exercise to avoiding nursing homes, understanding the threat and promise of assigning a power of attorney, and adjusting to society’s changed perceptions of one’s abilities when age 70 is reached.

These and other cautions, such as the chapter on how seniors are forced into involuntary guardianships, form the backbone of a different kind of guide to aging that more closely examines the link between senior status and social perception than most, while addressing common barriers to leading a good life.

Many of the problems besetting those over 70 come from being alone, not having a chosen advocate (whether it be a spouse of family member), and not realizing the various con games that can affect them, either legal or illegal.

Many of the cautions in this book are eye-opening, such as the facts about guardians and how they operate: “Forbes — in a great article on this topic — found 60% of guardians never had a credit or financial check run. Yet they are given total access to and control of your money! They can sell your house, your stocks, etc. and charge you exorbitant “fees” for everything — fees that quickly move your money into their pockets. And it’s a LOT of money. Forbes found total dollars controlled by guardians in just Idaho and Minnesota to be over $1 billion.”

Facts are backed by studies and statistics, discussions revolve around what a savvy senior can do to avoid such scenarios, and chapters cover mental health and stimulation as well as physical issues. At each step, senior audiences are encouraged to take this information and use it to better their lives and approaches to aging.

Perhaps this is the most invaluable tool of all: a mindset that empowers seniors to consider the kinds of changes that affect not just their aging, but their future role in society and their own preferences for living their remaining years in relative safety and comfort of their choosing.

From developing hobbies for both introvert and extrovert personalities (a factor too rarely considered in admonitions to expand one’s interests) to exercises geared to assess current lifestyles and satisfaction, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About AGING should be the guide of choice for one’s older years whether the reader is in their 50s, 60s, or beyond.

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