About Book How We Age

HOW WE AGE: A Doctor’s Journey
into the Heart of Growing Old 
From the Introduction of How We Age: My mission in this book is to offer a more balanced perspective on aging. My intention is not to promise any cures for aging, as some books do. I am not interested in pushing certain nutritional supplements, diets, or lifestyles as fountains of youth, as other books try. I am interested solely in presenting an honest exploration of the experience of old age through the lives of my patients. I begin in Part I by defining the aging process as it is currently understood scientifically as well as how it is both imagined and experienced psychologically. Part II is a medical rounds of sorts in which I describe the aging process of several of my most memorable patients. These cases, though quite variable in their life stories, illustrate clearly the inevitable physical, psychological, and social changes that make aging such a challenge and bring us ever closer to the end of living. Each story, in its own way, also shows the many promises of aging that transform both the ways in which our bodies and brain age and the experience of aging itself. .Part III discusses the changing role of memory in old age, telling some surprising stories of how life persists and even thrives in the face of memory loss. Part IV talks about the meaning and development of wisdom and how it is practiced by our elders – as well as by the caregivers for these elders. In both parts I highlight several sages who exemplify all that is right about aging. In Part V, I extend the discussion of aging to the very frontiers of life, exploring how certain lessons learned from the aged can serve as beacons for all us heading into those very same waters. These lessons do not promise the end of aging, but a new beginning even as we continue to age.