Aging Wisely: Life from Fifty to Seventy-five Years

Viola B. Mecke, Ph.D., ABPP

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 130 Price: (paperback) $16.99 ISBN: 9781669844990 Reviewed: February, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

In Aging Wisely, Viola B. Mecke creates a two-part look at the aging process using her firsthand experiences and those of patients from her former psychology practice, among others.

In Part I, Mecke divides aging into four age categories, describing challenges faced and adjustments that need to be made, as well as benefits:

  • 50-65: People face more emotional and physical changes as children leave the home and grandchildren are born—often altering interactions between spouses or partners.
  • 65-75: Retirement can bring feelings of freedom and relief, while also causing some people to wonder how to spend their time. Self-concepts can change with retirement, and health issues may increase.
  • 75-85: The author calls this the “age of compassion.” Some volunteer and contribute to community life, while many lose spouses and some can’t participate in activities they once enjoyed.
  • 85-plus: During these “encore years,” choices often must be made about where to live (Alone? With children? In a facility?) as some people become more solitary, by choice or necessity.

In Part II, the author explores similar topics but from a different lens: examining the emotions of loss, love, change, and more.

Mecke does an excellent job balancing the good aspects of aging with the more challenging ones, and admirably, she doesn’t assume that her life experiences are the same as others. Many older adults will recognize experiences described in these pages, and the book would likely help children of aging adults understand their perspectives.

On the down side, the title misstates that the age-range discussed will end at 75; this may be initially disorienting for readers. Additionally, because the emotions and experiences described in the first part (divided by age) are often discussed in the second, some sections may feel repetitive.

Despite such issues, this is an interesting and informative read that could make for spirited group discussion.

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