"The number of persons living more than eighty-five years is increasing. There will be more persons to share this time of life."

This book about aging is filled with interesting and engaging statistics stemming from the author's lifetime study of the individual's social and emotional development. Mecke—recently retired and now in her nineties—has become one of the "oldest-old" she writes for. The book's orientation ties to Maslow's Basic Needs.

Like most books on aging, the author addresses changes and decisions the oldest-old person must make. For example, where will the person opt to live? Will they move in with family members for support or try to continue independent living? The book questions the happiness that follows their decisions. Will the oldest-old determine to live with a positive or negative attitude? Will their daily lives be full of joy or emptiness? The text questions whether those who support them might be guilty of abuse or responsible for neglect. Is abuse limited to the physical, or can negative comments be abusive?

The author doesn't shy away from the fact that a large percentage of the oldest-old will lose their ability to remain mobile. Falls and the inability to walk as before prevent this age group from regaining trust in themselves. And then comes the question of driving. Who should make that limiting decision when considering that it involves isolation as well as physical danger?

The uniqueness of this book results from the author's lifetime of casework and accumulation of reference examples. Mecke's lengthy "A Poem of Life" enhances her book about living and dying. The author reveals the empathy that has made her life valuable to both clients and families. Since readers must pass through similar life stages, they will likely recognize and appreciate her care for them, too. Mecke's book of insights becomes something one can lean on as one ages.

A 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award Home Category Honorable Mention

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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