Age Speaks for Itself: Silent Voices of the Elderly / Edition 1

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This is the long awaited third book in Tom Koch's trilogy on aging. Mirrored Lives was a detailed first person account of geriatric illness from the perspective of the caregiver. It was followed by A Place in Time; here the issue of elder care was more generally considered from the perspective of other care givers. Assumptions about elder care, and more generally about caring for the fragile, were challenged in the analysis of the commonalities of caregiver narratives.

Age Speaks for Itself completes the examination through the presentation of 11 separate narratives of the fragile. The introductory chapter argues that as a society we tend to possess a sense of animosity toward our elders. The images of age--the greedy geezer and the suitcase granny--are, it shows, constructions with little basis in reality. Koch reviews myths of age and compares them to the realities of the lives presented in this book. He critiques theories of age as a necessarily unique and last stage of human life. Instead, he concludes, longevity defines not a necessary difference, but a social state in which seniors are marginalized. The reason, he argues, is that we fear the fact of human mortality that age represents in our culture. This is an important and gripping look at the elderly, primarily through their own lives, and must reading for anyone who has ever thought about the implications of growing old in American society.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this final book in a trilogy on aging (following Mirrored Lives: Aging Children and Elderly Parents and A Place in Time: Care Givers for Their Elderly), Koch refutes the stereotype of today's elderly as unproductive burdens to society who absorb resources that should go to younger people. Koch discusses the current assumptions and definitions of the meaning of age in society and compares them to the life narratives of a heterogeneous group of seniors, aged 65 and over. The narratives form the essence of the book. The reader meets Mr. Epp, the veteran of three wars; Sherry, the life of the senior center; and Jennifer, the liberated woman. Their stories flesh out the definition of the term elderly and present a realistic picture of what it is like to be old in America. To Koch's credit, he doesn't gloss over the group's illnesses and infirmities but includes them as a footnote to a broader picture. His main thrust is that society's stereotypes and treatment of seniors makes the inherent challenges of aging even more difficult. Helpful for anyone who is in frequent contact with senior citizens, this is recommended for all public libraries and for academic libraries with courses in gerontology.--Deborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., NJ Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
The final book in Koch's (gerontology, Simon Fraser University) trilogy on aging concerns the self-conscious attitude American society has toward mortality. Koch considers the relationship between our fear of morality and our view of the elderly, and the ways in which the elderly are represented and misrepresented in the popular imagination. In an effort to dismiss the common stereotypes, the book presents the narratives of 11 aged individuals, with introductory and concluding essays by Koch. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275967963
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Lexile: 860L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.39 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

TOM KOCH is a writer and researcher specializing in medical ethics and in public information theory. He is an adjunct professor of gerontology at Simon Fraser University and an associate of the Center on Aging, University of Hawaii. This is the third book in his trilogy on age and elder care; the earlier volumes are Mirrored Lives: Aging Children and Elderly Parents (Praeger, 1990) and A Place in Time: Care Givers for Their Elderly (Praeger, 1993).
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Nothing Succeeds Like Success
A Brocaded Brassiere with Red Knickers
Puck, and Damn Proud of It
A Russian Spring
A Nursing Life
The Teenage Bride
The Coward
Lloyd's Other Life
There was a Crooked Man
Who Walked a Crooked Mile
The Millennium Watcher
Discussion: The Experience of Age
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