5 Great Books About Aging

Five Important Books on Aging

  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters
  • The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest
  • Aging with Grace
  • You Know You’re 50 When…
  • I Remember Nothing

These five great books on aging cover everything you need to know about growing older in America. With books full of scientific reflections of medical changes, light-hearted humor and advice on aging well, this list is an excellent starting point for sociology and social work students. You’ll have a better understanding of the process of aging and the cultural concerns surrounding old age when you’ve read these five books on growing old.

1. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters

Why are American skilled nursing facilities so unpleasant? Physician Atul Gawande turns his scalpel-sharp pen to the final institution many aging Americans will encounter. He guides readers through real-world experiments to make aging more pleasant and the barriers reform advocates face. He highlights pleasant retirement communities and explains how you can optimize growing old. Although this isn’t entirely a book about becoming older, nursing homes are such a key part of the lives of Americans this book still belongs on any list of five important books about aging.

2. The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

No list of important books on aging is complete without at least one book on how to slow down the aging process. This best-selling book on healthy lifestyles profiles five communities across the world. Each community is famous for long-lived residents, and author Dan Buettner wants to unlock the secret of aging slowly. This is a popular science book, so what it lacks in nuance it makes up for in readability. You’ll come away with easy-to-apply tips on living longer and healthier. Hint: Start eating more fish and going for walks. For the rest of Buettner’s advice, you’ll have to read the book.

3. Aging with Grace

Alzheimer’s disease is a major concern for many Americans, and for good reason. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 10 percent of Americans over age 65 have Alzheimer’s. In this book, Dr. David Snowden reveals his advice for lowering your risk of developing this disease. His work is based on a decades-long cohort study of 678 nuns in Minnesota. He’s worked hard to make his research easy-to-digest by including personal stories from the nuns he studied and easy-to-understand text.

4. You Know You’re 50 When…

For lighter reading, turn to this comedic book on the effects of aging on your lifestyle. With humorous illustrations and large print, it’s an easy read and the simplest way to start tackling this list of five books on getting old. This book makes a fun gag gift or an interesting look at the cultural changes that come with aging.

5. I Remember Nothing

If you want something lighter than a science study but denser than a joke book, Nora Ephron’s collection of essays will hit the spot. The delightfully charming comic delivers wry observations on life your 60s and 70s. She freely shares her thoughts and failings, creating an honest and engaging book. Ephron shows that life doesn’t end in old age as she discusses dinner parties and dating through a fresh perspective.

Related Resource: 30 Great Scholarships for Social Work Students

The best way to learn more about growing old in America is reading voraciously. Don’t stop with this list of five books on aging.

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