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Great Myths of Aging

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’Full of research evidence about older people and easy to read’

Title: Great Myths of Aging

Editors: Joan T Erber and Lenore T Szuchman

Publisher: John Wiley

Reviewer: Dr Carol Cooper, senior lecturer in Mental Health Nursing, Sheffield Hallam University

What was it like?

A quite short paperback book that aims to challenge common myths around older people (both positive and negative). The book is divided into five sections covering issues relating to the body, the mind, the self, living contexts and finally; endings and loss. Each of these chapters is subdivided into the relevant issues and presents the myth followed by scientific evidence to challenge this. A lot of the evidence is US; however the authors have tried to incorporate research from other countries too. The book aims to identify the origins of these myths and the impact this has on negative stereotypes of older people. It is allegedly “written with humour and verve” although maybe this is US humour, which I unfortunately missed! All in all I found it lacking and not a book that will be top of my charts.

What were the highlights?

This book does tackle some of the traditionally taboo subjects for older people from sex to death (and more in between).

Strengths & weaknesses:

Full of research evidence about older people and easy to read, however for my liking it had too much US information for the UK market. The format also did it no favours as I note it has been compared elsewhere to a 1950s women’s magazine.

Who should read it?

I’m at a loss to know! Sadly I’m not sure I would recommend it to anyone, although it is supposed to be uplifting for older people. Perhaps I need to read it again in ten years’ time to do it justice.







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