Foreword Review — Sept / Oct 2001
Searching for the fountain of youth? The next best thing is this book, published by the Mayo Clinic, an establishment with over 100 years of medical knowledge, 2,000 physicians, and three locations. Because people are living longer, this well-researched book-which begins with a definition of aging and goes on to include everything needed to live a long, healthy life-is crucial. Throughout, true stories provide examples and ways to learn based on the expertise of Mayo Clinic doctors and the advice they give to their patients every day.
As the body ages, it changes; diseases may appear, ranging from arthritis and stroke to indigestion and hearing loss. Simple explanations of disorders show how to deal with the changes. In a section on high blood pressure, readers are encouraged to learn the risk factors and strategies to help preserve the adult’s lifestyle and prevent or minimize changes. Discussions on exercise, nutrition, sexuality, sleep, and memory loss and impairment provide ways to cope with aging. Depression and dementia are differentiated and memory tips are offered.
A book on changes of the mind and body would not be complete without a discussion of spirituality. According to the Spirituality in Healthcare Committee at Mayo Clinic, “Spirituality is a dynamic process by which one discovers inner wisdom and vitality that give meaning and purpose to all life events and relationships.” Studies have shown that spirituality brings hope, which benefits healing, and that meditation may help various medical problems.
Living a longer life requires financial resources. With the help of Mayo Clinic administrative specialists, the book thoroughly covers ways of learning how to meet financial goals, figuring future needs, creating financial plans, planning estates, and making wills and living trusts.
The health care chapter discusses how to choose a doctor and get health insurance. The section on planning ahead shows the essentials of a power of attorney, a living will, organ donation, and funeral plans. Roles and relationships are explored, including changes among friends and families, and caregiving. The chapter on independence explains how to make a home safe from falls, burns, shocks, and suffocation, and how to travel safely. Lists of resources offer more information topics like choosing a nursing home and finding caregiver help. This is the one book to read when planning for the future.