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Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life
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Elderhood: Redefining Aging, Transforming Medicine, Reimagining Life

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  25 reviews
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 m
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published June 11th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published June 10th 2019)
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3.86  · 
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 ·  66 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Elyse Walters
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Medicine today
has 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 discomfort and disability, that she began adjusting her n
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 misplaced and ill-advised in many older patients.

I’m going
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 behind most others. Caring for the elderly has low s ...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Originally published on my book blog,

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 person over 50. When I started reading, I hoped for mu
Bob H
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 training and hospital vs. home care generally. She ...more
Jill Meyer
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 stages of life - as she sees them - beginning with
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
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 latter part of someone’s life from the perspective of a doc
Julia Nock
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 practice to show how we as a society and as individuals ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, aging
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.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 training as a medical professional.

I have never made so
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Angie Boyter
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: vine
Rather disappointing
See my Amazon Vine review:
Ellyn Lem
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 seniors that she looks after as a home visit phys ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it liked it
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 hospitalists who seem to rely on textbook practices ...more
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 All Maladies. While Aronson focuses on anecdotes an
Debra Robert
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 someone you live in an old age home.

I love Louise Aronso
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who is over 65 or knows someone closely who is in that category needs to read this book. Written by a doctor who specializes in the elderly, it is extremely interesting and easy to read. Along with Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal, it provides insights into how senior citizens live and think, and offers solutions to the many conditions that make life difficult as people age.

Highly recommended.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
Louise Aronson makes a valiant effort to give elders a voice and a presence but truly there is no new information here from Atul Gwande's Being Mortal.
Aronson's book could have benefited from a lot less memoir and more focus on the issue.
Probably about 150 pages longer than it need be.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a powerful portrait of all the angles of ageing. A must-read for all who hope to age... at all.
Ellen Loulou
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this in bits and pieces. Very interesting and informative, if you or anyone you love intends to get old.
Anne Moomey
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This book covered quite a few statistics and some information I already was aware of, but it’s certainly good reading for health professionals and those approaching or close to “aging”.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall a fairly interesting book that could have been better organized and edited down a bit
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
To partially quote Ursula LeGuin's response to the old saw "getting old isn't for sissies" I must agree that "old age is for anyone who gets there." However, as Louise Aronson states "Elderhood is life's third and final act; what it looks like is up to us." And in her articulate, thoughtful assessment of this third act she describes a complex, at times, frightening look at just how unprepared most of us are to navigate elderhood. No matter what your age I recommend this book as a beginning to pr ...more
Terry Earley
Jun 17, 2019 is currently reading it
Requested 6-17-2019 hard cover book from library p 100
rated it it was amazing
Jul 16, 2019
C Bower
Jan 10, 2019 marked it as to-read
Sydney’s roommate’s (Lindsey) boyfriend Andrew helped edit this book!
Stephen Day
rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2019
Bruce Beck
rated it liked it
Jul 18, 2019
Tom Clingan
rated it liked it
Jul 07, 2019
Lynn Jessel
rated it liked it
Jul 02, 2019
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Louise Aronson is a writer and a doctor whose work appears in literary magazines, newspapers, and medical journals, including Narrative Magazine, the Bellevue Literary Review, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, New England Journal and Lancet. She is Professor of Medicine at the University of California where she does Housecalls, directs the Northern California Geriatrics Education Center ...more