What is it like to grow older? More than 80 American women from across the country, aged middle 50s through late 90s, offer thoughtful insights on many aspects of advancing in years--the ups as well as some downs, joys along with sorrows, happy memories from the past plus contentment with much of the present. Life is worth living, they agree, even as relationships, health, and responsibilities may change. Attitude is the key, they say, and at every age one may choose how to live during the time ahead.
PEARLS addresses practical everyday realities as well as major issues, with readers encouraged to note their own responses to the questions raised--and to discuss them with friends or family when possible. The book's contributors are neither afraid nor ashamed of the later stages of life, despite whatever troubles they may have encountered. Some comments are serious, others amusing, heartbreaking, or just plain sensible. They show, from the point of view of women who have "been there, faced that," how to put everything into perspective and make a worthwhile life.
While these women differ from one another, as well as from those who will read their words, nearly any adult American female will find something here to bring at least a nod of recognition.
TOPIC AREAS (Table of Contents)
First Words: Why this book? Why Pearls? Why Women's Wisdom? Why Not Men?
What's in Our Minds: Attitudes, Staying Mentally Alive; Worries; Thinking About Change and the Three M stages; Stereotypes, Wisdom.
Ages and Stages: What Does it Mean to be Old? Remembering Being Young, Growing Up, Mentors; Age Transition--Wisdom for Our Younger Self, Favorite Age.
Bodily Realities: Appearance--Are Looks Important? Looking at Ourselves, and Listen to Mom! Health--Assessing Changes, Health Nuisances, Menopause.
Connections: Bonds With Others, Making Friends; Our Nearest and Dearest--Widowhood, Divorce, Losing Loved Ones.
Dealing With Time: Sharing Our Time--Causes, Volunteering; Can there be Too Much Time? Loneliness and Solitude.
Day by Day: Hiring Services--"Stuff"--Legalities--Driving--the Other Half.
Later Life: Living Situations--Housing, Caregiving; Retirement, Use of Skills; Rethinking Technology.
Smiles and Wise Words: Humor and Age; She Said It (and So Did He).
Final Touches: Seasoned Reflections.
The Last Word
Survey Questions, Participants by State, Acknowledgements.
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