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Book and Media Reviews
October 5, 2011

How We Age: A Doctor's Journey Into the Heart of Growing Old

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: School of Aging Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa; and International Clinical Research Center, St Anne's University Hospital Brno, Brno, Czech Republic (randel@usf.edu).

JAMA. 2011;306(13):1489. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1414

How We Age: A Doctor's Journey Into the Heart of Growing Old presents an engaging account of the encounters of a geriatric psychiatrist with his older patients, whose successes and failures in dealing with age-related challenges such as physical disability, chronic or terminal illness, and cognitive difficulties or dementia are discussed skillfully and poignantly in the context of their many life experiences. The author, Marc Agronin, offers a refreshing, unique look at human aging, at one point referring to it as “a mystery that requires meaning rather than a problem that requires solution” (p 44). Agronin's central premise can be thought of as helping the reader understand the intricacies of human aging—a process marked by the realities of decline, disease, and death but also by fulfillment and satisfaction. The book is presented in 5 somewhat loosely presented parts, each filled with a multitude of theoretical and personal perspectives on aging.

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