In Aging Wisely: Facing Emotional Challenges from 50 to 85+ Years, retired clinical psychologist Viola Mecke shares not only what she’s learned from 40 years as a teacher and practitioner, but as someone who’s actually lived the subject of her book. An 85-year-old widow and cancer survivor who is still discovering herself, her goal, she says, is “to bring about better resolutions of problems and help us all to age more wisely.”
The author has done a commendable job of weaving personal experiences—hers and others’—into a slim guidebook that lets aging readers know what to expect. Dividing the aging years into four parts—The Initiation (ages 50-65), Retirement (65-75), The Age of Compassion (75-85) and The Curtain Call (85 and up)—Mecke explores the physical, mental and social changes that are likely to take place as we get older. In the second part of Aging Wisely, she delves into the emotions we often face and offers tips for being more resilient, dispelling loneliness, and dealing with other issues.
Mecke reminds us that we have choices; we can adapt, like the pragmatic 65-year-old woman who says, “I’ll take whatever comes” or give up, like the proud man in the retirement home who refuses to accept his friends’ care and ends up dying alone. And although it doesn’t downplay or dismiss the realities of illness, depression and loneliness, Aging Wisely stresses the importance of a positive attitude.
Throughout this informative book, Mecke manages to avoid the overly technical style some psychologists adopt when sharing their life’s work. Geared to a broad range of readers, from young caregivers to new retirees to 90-year-olds struggling with advanced health problems, Aging Wisely is liberating in its gentle but pervasive message that we should make the most of our lives, no matter what age.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.