The New Senior Woman: Reinventing the Years Beyond Mid-Life


As people live longer and better lives, both women and men may look forward to many years in retirement. But living well in retirement depends on a variety of decisions people make as they prepare for and enter this new chapter of life and living. This book is for and about women approaching and experiencing life in their senior years. This largest and fastest-growing part of the population is living in a manner very different from our mothers, whose roles in life were much more predictable and circumscribed than...

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The New Senior Woman: Reinventing the Years Beyond Mid-Life

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As people live longer and better lives, both women and men may look forward to many years in retirement. But living well in retirement depends on a variety of decisions people make as they prepare for and enter this new chapter of life and living. This book is for and about women approaching and experiencing life in their senior years. This largest and fastest-growing part of the population is living in a manner very different from our mothers, whose roles in life were much more predictable and circumscribed than ours. Today’s senior women live longer, are healthier, better educated, more involved in the world, and more active than the women who preceded us. Figuring out these uncharted years without role models or guideposts can be challenging, but, here, the authors gather the stories of today’s senior women, who have jumped hurdles, answered questions, and made decisions they never saw their mothers make.

Through these stories, readers will find fellowship and guidance, wisdom and acknowledgment of the challenges (and triumphs) that lie ahead. Culled from women in their sixties and beyond, and from a variety of backgrounds and current living situations, the stories reveal the realities of life for retirement-age women, and demonstrate the dreams, joys, concerns, and fears that come along with this phase of life. They address questions about living arrangements, adult children, loss of a spouse or partner, relationships and friendships, part time work, social connections, health concerns, and more. Facing these new situations with class, dignity, sass, and smarts, these women reveal the various ways today’s senior women can live and love her retirement years.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The later life of the senior woman today has little in common with her mother's or even grandmother's lives. To start she will live 20 to 30 years longer with better health, more vitality, and increased resources to affect changes in themselves as well as society. Fleisher and Reese, two retired professors turned bloggers, aim to help women navigate the unique realities of life after retirement in this day and age. The two approach the topic like the academics they once were—interviewing hundreds of women "with varied histories who examine their lives critically." The book collects and categorizes the wisdom of women already in the second half of their lives (one is 100 years old!) to provide inspiration and practical advice on such topics as how to live with adult children, downsize their homes, and embrace galloping technology.The authors do not avoid the unavoidable and most serious issues of aging: separation and loss; however, at times they seem overly earnest or too optimistic. And, even the elder chicks can slip into unintended ageism. For example, in the chapter about downsizing they talk to a couple in their 80s moving to a retirement community in Florida. "Even at their age," the authors write, Hannah H and her husband "had the spirit and courage to recognize that a change in lifestyle would be worth the effort." Minor pitfalls aside, Fleisher and Reese successfully provide direction and community for women 60-plus looking to reinvent their later life. (Oct.)
Since 1950, America’s population older than 60 has nearly tripled. In step Fleisher and Reese, retired professors who started the blog,, to share inspiring stories about how one’s senior years can be a 'time of renewal and reinvention.' Dick Goldberg, national director of Coming of Age (for Americans 50 and older), writes a lovely introduction about seniors maintaining freedom and independence. Indeed, that’s a common, food-for-thought theme throughout the book as Fleisher and Reese profile 'people who are truly mastering the art of a senior life.' Lawyer 'Cheryl L' frees herself from a moribund marriage. 'Shirley L,' in her mid-80s, plays tennis and still works at the art dealership she founded with her husband. At first, 'Joanne K' was devastated that her husband cheated on her. But eventually, she concluded that 'he was the bad guy here, not me!' And she got her master’s degree in psychology. The book ends, satisfyingly, with Elena S’s creed, 'While I can, I will. When I can’t, I won’t. But I’ll be glad that I did when I could.'
Deborah Carr
The New Senior Woman is essential reading for “women of a certain age” who are on the verge on their retirement years. With its lively conversational style, The New Senior Woman is a self-help book for savvy women who typically eschew self-help. Baby Boom women have re-invented every social institution they’ve encountered, and old age is no exception. This book provides women with helpful yet never sanctimonious advice on how to navigate retirement, downsizing one’s home, health woes, cognitive decline, ever-changing parent-child relations, loss, and the other inevitable changes that accompany aging. Equal parts first-person narrative, scholarship, and self-help, The New Senior Woman invites women to face old age with knowledge, confidence, and guarded optimism.
Molly D. Shepard
This remarkable compendium of stories of and by women of a 'certain age' provides enormous insight and wisdom to all of us as we approach retirement. This underlying message is reinforced in every page; "To thine own self be true."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442223561
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Pages: 246
  • Sales rank: 704,237
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara M. Fleisher, EdD, is a retired professor of education. She is the author of many journal articles and has presented her research at national and international conferences. She has made presentations and conducted many workshops for and about women in their sixties and beyond, and has interviewed hundreds of women about their concerns as they face new challenges in this stage in their lives.

Thelma Reese, EdD, retired professor of English and of Education, created the Advisory Council for Hooked on Phonics and was its spokesperson in the ‘90s. In that role, and as director of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy for the City of Philadelphia, she appeared frequently on television and hosted a cable show in Philadelphia. Together, she and Barbara created and maintain the blog. She writes the monthly Family column for www.RightsideWire, and she and Barbara appear weekly on the Armstrong Williams show on Sirius Radio as he plumbs the wisdom of the “ElderChicks.”

Dick Goldberg is the national director of Coming of Age, the age fifty-plus civic engagement initiative working in thirty communities. In his previous career as a playwright and screenwriter, among the works he authored was the off-Broadway drama Family Business, which ran in New York for over a year, was produced in regional theatres around the world, and was the basis for his becoming a Guggenheim Fellow.

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Table of Contents

1: My Mother’s Senior Years Were So Different from Mine
How Should I Be in This New Age?
2: So Now I’m Retired
How Do I Fill My Days So I Feel Good about Myself at Night?
3: I Love My Freedom and Independence
How Do I Maintain It?
4: We Love Our Possessions but They Are Starting to Own Us
How Do I Downsize My Life?
5: The Children Are Adults
Has the Family Dynamic Outgrown Issues of Control, Rebellion, and Sibling Rivalries? How Do We Keep a Sense of Family across Generations?
6: Can’t Use My Computer – or Knit or Rollerblade
The World is Changing around Me. How Do I Remain a Part of It? How Do I Push Myself to Learn New Skills?
7: We Laugh about Our ‘Senior Moments’
Should We Fear Them?
8: Rx Health
We Can’t Ignore the Changes. What Do We Do about Them?
9: Separation and Loss Are Facts of Life
How Do I Handle Them?
10: Sometimes I Feel Safest in My Senior Bubble
My World is Shrinking. How Do I Expand It?
Finale: A Gathering of the Wisdom We Find in Each Other

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