Elderhood by Louise Aronson


As revelatory as Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, physician and award-winning author Louise Aronson's Elderhood is an essential, empathetic look at a vital but often disparaged stage of life.For more than 5,000 years, "old" has been defined as beginning between the ages of 60 and 70. That means most people alive today will spend more years in elderhood than in childhood, and many will be elders for 40 years or more. Yet at the very moment that humans...

Details Elderhood

Release DateJun 11th, 2019
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
GenreNonfiction, Science, Health, Medical, Medicine

Reviews Elderhood

  • Elyse Walters
    Medicine todayhas become as much about prevention as well as treatment. It’s at least moving in that direction with many medical doctors today - re- educating themselves in Functional medicine — treating the whole person - looking for root causes rather than treatment alone. It was only when Louise Aronson, a medical doctor herself - ( beginning in 1992), started having health problems in 2015 - face-to-face with the likelihood of ongoing dis...
  • Jill
    Anyone who is already old, caring for someone old, or intending to grow old in the near or distant future needs to read this book. Now! And that not only includes readers; it also includes policy-makers.Elderhood is not a “how-to” book that treads over the same old tired ground. Rather, it’s a book that tackles why aging must be understood and redefined and why the medical establishment’s usual goals of saving lives and curing disease is ...
  • Canadian
    At over 450 pages, ELDERHOOD, by San Francisco geriatrician Louise Aronson, is a big book. It’s an ambitious one, too. In the opening pages, the author states her intention to highlight relevant information from many disciplines about the last of the three acts in a human life: old age. (Childhood and adulthood are acts one and two respectively.) As the pages turn, several key themes emerge. One is that geriatrics (as a medical specialty) lags ...
  • Jill Meyer
    I'll admit I was a bit disappointed in Dr Louise Aronson's new book, "Elderhood: Medicine, Society, and Life's Third Act". I thought it would be a bit more practical and cover specific topics about aging. Instead, the book is really a series of essays about Dr Aronson's introduction and then choice to specialise in gerontology. Now, that's not a bad direction for a book, and Dr Aronson's a pretty good writer. I enjoyed her writing on the various ...
  • Barbara (The Bibliophage)
    Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com.Louise Aronson subtitles Elderhood with the following: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life. I submit that she focuses primarily on the second of these topics, rather than the other two. And that makes sense because she has many years of experience as a geriatric physician, much of it in a house calls practice.I’m a former caregiver to my now deceased parents and a pe...
  • Bob H
    This is a sensitively written account of Dr. Aronson's career in geriatrics -- an autobiography centered on her life experience and medical career -- and a critique of geriatrics, US medicine generally and of how our society deals with aging. Along the way, she shows us a medical system almost caste-ridden in its hierarchy of specialties, in which geriatrics is low-rated, as well as US medicine's fragmented approach to patients, funding, medical ...
  • Kristine
    Elderhood by Louise Aronson is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late April.Oof, it looks quite deep from the chapter names in the table of contents, though I’d eventually learn that these didn’t bear much relevance on the stories being told as much as just marking where one story stopped and another began (i.e. you could pretty much just number the chapters, instead of name them so philosophically). Elderhood presented as being the latte...
  • Keeley
    Louise Aronson tackles the rampant ageism that is alive and well in the medical field in the US today. She covers how old age has been defined historically and how it has morphed to represent fear and death in current western society. She brilliantly knocks down ageist stereotypes not only in the medical field, but in society as a whole. Elderhood is a collection of stories from Aronson's career working as a geriatrician beginning with her traini...
  • Julia Nock
    This is a wonderful book about the intersection of the later stages of life, medicine, and society. Just as children are not simply, as once thought, small adults, but a time of life with its own developmental stages and needs, so aging is an articulated time of life with a broad spectrum of stages and a complex diversity of presentation. Aronson, a geriatrician, uses stories of patients, her own family, and her path in medical training and pract...
  • Donna
    Excellent, conversational in tone, and erudite in execution. Filled with examples of how aging patients are viewed and devalued by the medical establishment. Should be required reading for anyone with aging parents and definitely medical school students who won't have time to read it.
  • Steve
    I was disappointed in this book. There was little new here for me. This book was 400 pages of stating the obvious, a rehash of multiple other books on the subject and very tedious repetition. The author repeats the premise of the book multiple, multiple times. The elderly are not treated well by the healthcare delivery system. We get it. The other reason I didn’t like this book is because the author indulges in WAY too much information and desc...
  • Karen
    Overall I liked this book. Aronson is a good writer, and I felt that the stories of her patients were interesting. I felt I learned quite a bit. She points out the problems of our health care system, but she didn't go quite far as I would have liked. I would have liked more practical ways to help our aging population, but maybe that needs to be a sequel.
  • Lynn
    My father is 98, his wife is 85. His wife of 60 years (my mother) died in 2008. Five month’s later, after “courting” her just a few times, he proposed to his present wife. They married five months later once they found a date that would accommodate all their distant children. They traveled, partied, ate out most of the time, and went to the theater & symphony until, after almost 8 good years, my dad had a massive heart attack at age 95. His...
  • Morgan
    A fantastic and important book for our generation and every generation. Louise Aronson eloquently explains and examines both individual and systematic challenges with aging in a way that’s relatable and poetic. Everyone should read this book, meditate on it, keep it on their shelves, and read it again. This book is for anyone who gives a shit about humanity.
  • Cindy
    While there were things I learned and liked about this book, it is a disorganized mess.
  • Georgette
    Not quite what I thought it was going to be, but a useful tool for caregivers.
  • Angie Boyter
    Rather disappointingSee my Amazon Vine review: https://www.amazon.com/review/R3M0S5M...
  • Laurie
    There are a number of problems with the way society deals with aging, and Aronson covers them here. There are few drug trials that use older people; most trials are designed around middle aged, white, males. There is no one storage place of medical records, which creates a problem when a patient must go to a new provider or seeks emergency treatment. Medicare won’t cover hearing aids or glasses, but will cover cochlear implants or eye operation...
  • Erica
    There was enough in this book that was interesting and revelatory that I finished it, even though it was a slog in many places. I enjoyed the stories of former patients, and when she talked of specifics of incorrect care for the elderly. However much of the book was repetitive, not in "reinforcing the theme" kind of way, but as if she were newly pissed off about the thing and needed to rant again. In fact, much of the book is diatribe of things o...
  • Ellyn Lem
    This must be my summer of great books since I don't remember when I have read so many "five star" ones. Louise Aronson is a geriatrician, and I have been waiting for this book of hers to come out for a while now after I read an excellent op-ed piece she wrote for the NY Times about the importance in acknowledging variance in older adults. This book builds on that premise, but does so much more. First, Aronson includes a number of vignettes of the...
  • Stephanie Lynn
    Listen, we're all going to grow old and die one day, at least I'm hoping to be afforded such an opportunity. It doesn't have to be a miserable experience. The world that we're building now is the one that we will inhabit in the future. We need to do better, not just for the older adults that are alive right now, but for the ones that we are planning to become. A great many topics were covered in this book that centered on the experience of aging ...
  • Sandy Brehl
    This is a weighty book, in length, complexity, and content. The anecdotal examples throughout lift the reading and make it more digestible and human, applying statistical and medical and societal realities to individual lives. I tend to plow through books or pass on them, but this is one worth reading a chapter or two per day, and i've already recommended it to friends and relatives of many ages. One of the reviews below indicated that it is an i...
  • Synthia Salomon
    My father is turning 70 this Sunday. As the master of ceremony to this huge event, I read this text for insight on Elderhood. “We’re all headed toward old age. Improving our own elderhood means challenging the societal prejudices and misconceptions that relegate the elderly to the sidelines of American life. That not only means changing how we talk about the elderly but educating ourselves about their varied and unique medical needs. If we ca...
  • Rachel Bhattacharyya
    Eldercare is a well-crafted, extremely readable book - part memoir, part illumination of the problems with America's healthcare system, especially when it involves care of older people. Louise Aronson effectively validates older people, humanizing the invisible segment of our society and accurately portraying what it means to be old in today's world. She gives an accurate description of the short-comings and frustrations of medical practice that ...
  • Aliceconlon
    A comprehensive, unsurprising, and sobering look at how doctors and the medical community treat and mistreat the elderly, defined by Aronson as people in the sixties and older. I was disappointed in Aronson's rambling style, limited number of anecdotes/examples, and her overriding pity for herself and other doctors who are burdened by too much paperwork and too little time and the fragmented care from primary care physicians and specialists and h...
  • Gaby
    I find myself sharing stories from Elderhood with friends and family. Elderhood discusses how the lack of resources and research placed on the treatment of older patients leads to uneven and inadequate medical treatment. The is gap is attributable to doctors, hospitals, drug companies, etc but the dangers of errors - big and small - are almost incalculable. I found Aronson's Elderhood is as engrossing and as informative as Mukerjee's Emperor of A...
  • Debra Robert
    This bk is not terribly interesting unless you’re a doctor. There are a few main ideas that are important to read about and know. 1. Older adults are generally disregarded. 2. Health care is not not adequate for older adults. 3. People are more contact in the last stages of their lives. 4. Respect not given for old people - call yourself and others “Elder” as that word seems like it conjures up more respect. 5. Watch out if you want to put ...
  • Teresa
    Having parents who are nearing their 8th decade, I appreciate reading about this very candid physician's experiences and insight in the unpopular field of geriatrics and I feel I have a better understanding of what it must be like for my parents managing their health care as they age and the challenges I will face in my own aging. It will definitely move me towards a better dialogue with my parents about what they want for care in the coming year...
  • Donna
    This has been an important read for me. I appreciated the personal approach of the author to describe and explain her own experience in the areas of education, training, relationships as a physician, and as a family member. The redefinition of old age to elderhood is uplifting, however the lack of geriatricians is disheartening. While assisting in caring for my mother less than a decade ago in the Portland, OR metropolitan area, I found one geria...