The Book About Getting Older by Dr Lucy Pollock
Written by Ashley Kelmore, Posted in Uncategorized
Anyone, especially in the UK, who is getting older or cares for people who are getting older.
In a nutshell:
Geriatrician Pollock offers advice and observations about what life can be like as we age.
“Many of the difficulties that come with age are common but are not inevitable; they are not normal.”
Why I chose it:
My parents are getting older.
As I write this review, I’ve just finished packing for a visit to see my parents. They are in their 70s, and I live about 5,000 miles away. During COVID, their neighbors did most of their grocery shopping so they didn’t need to go, and so far they’ve managed to avoid catching it. Their health concerns are not for me to share, but I can say that they both have some that one might expect as people work their way through their 70s.
When I saw this book, I thought I should pick it up. While it is very UK-focused (which is relevant in the chapters that talk about the laws that govern things like power of attorney), the information about disease, medication, and general care seems applicable to really anyone who is aging. Dr Pollock works as a geriatrician, so she is well versed on the different ailments and concerns that face people in their 70s, 80s and beyond.
The section I found most helpful was when she did an audit and edit of medications that someone was on, with them of course. Looking at things that actually treat active disease, vs things that might be preventative but have lots of side effects, vs things that might be helpful in improving health overall. I think we’re so invested in fixing things or preventing things that there might not be as much attention paid to what every medication is doing and how it is impacting overall health. Of course, this is balanced with concerns that people not feel that they’re being given up on just because they are older and might have complex medical and health needs.
I have no idea if my parents will live another 20 healthy years or not. A good family friend died just this weekend of a sudden heart attack. Meanwhile, my father-in-law died relatively young due to complications from Alzheimer’s. No one really knows when we’re going to need extra care, or what the future looks like as we age, but I do think this book is a good place to start when considering it all.
Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it: