Kenneth Barringer enters an already crowded marketplace with a book he hopes will act as a guide for all those seeking healthy, happy and fulfilled senior years.
To an extent, he meets that goal with a comprehensive analysis of such key issues as physical and mental health, social interaction, nutrition, exercise, spirituality and financial affairs. He also touches on more offbeat topics, such as scams, sun-care, elder abuse, pet-ownership, and risk-taking, which, he writes, is beneficial as a confidence booster, so long as it’s not reckless or foolish.
A retired clinical psychologist, Methodist minister and college teacher, Barringer argues that careful, considered decision-making and better self-management are the foundations upon which seniors should build their lives. Much of his advice is already familiar and widely accepted, although he does a good job of compiling information and presenting it in a lively and readable manner.
The author’s strongly-held Christian views color the book, and the tone occasionally becomes pedantic as he offers advice on how to store clothing and household items or scolds people for over-eating, holding onto clutter, and not taking care of their appearance. Oddly, readers will not find a single reference to sex, although many experts regard active sex lives as an important source of happiness and wellbeing for seniors.
The book’s major failing is that the author endlessly repeats himself. In each chapter, he goes over the same ground many times; chapters end with a summary of their content, and, for those who still haven’t got the message, a final 30-page chapter summarizes the entire book.
Astute editing could have cut the page count in half and corrected the many missing and misused words. Despite such issues, those looking for a primer on senior living will find some useful, if well-worn, information here.
Also available in hardcover.