into the Heart of Growing Old
“Through the stories and lives of Marc Agronin’s patients, we learn about the scientific, medical, and human side of the aging process. Dr. Agronin is not only a gifted writer and clinician, but also a keen observer of human behavior, whose empathy for his patients goes a long way to break down the ageism that separates the generations.”
– Gary Small, MD
UCLA Professor of Psychiatry and Aging,
and best selling author of The Memory Bible
From How We Age:
When it comes to the question of what it means to be old, I often turn to my patients for answers. As psychiatrist George Vaillant remarks, “Old age is like a minefield; if you see footprints leading to the other side, step in them.” Is it possible, I wonder, for the aged to distill the lessons of extreme old age into a formula that would guide all of us into this new terrain? After all, the eighty-five-year-olds and older are the fastest growing demographic group in the county now, and we are all headed that way. But the answers from my patients are often strikingly mundane: “I stopped counting my age years ago,” teased one centenarian, whereas another insisted that she didn’t feel a day over eighty. Their answers are not definitive, but that is the point. Hope is a viable response, among many, to old age.