The Fountain of Age Author:Betty Friedan From Publishers Weekly — Friedan's (The Feminine Mystique) wise, empowering book on aging should be read by everyone who equates growing old with being lonely, powerless, unattractive or dependent. She distills interviews with scores of women and men in middle or old age who lead dynamic, creative lives, having broken through the conventional exp... more »ectation that aging inevitably means decline. She also makes accessible a wealth of findings from gerontologists, social scientists and psychologists. We learn, for example, that the "empty nest syndrome" hits many men more acutely than women, and that recent research contradicts the notion that the brain inevitably deteriorates physically with age. Friedan combines political savvy and empathetic insight in chapters on health care, retirement communities, the "right to die" movement, menopause, nursing homes (which she calls "death sentences"), the search for intimacy and meaningful work, and how women and men age differently. This marvelous, inspiring book approaches aging as an adventure, and is itself one. First serial to Time and Good Housekeeping; BOMC alternate; QPB dual main selection.
From Library Journal
Friedan tackles the subject of aging with the same candor evident in her earlier critiques of women's roles (e.g., Feminine Mystique , 1963). She offers no quick fixes on how to grow old gracefully in a society that worships youth. Instead, she confronts the reality of aging. This proves to be less frightening and damaging than the denial and cosmetic fix-ups to prolong youth in a culture that places no value on age and provides no role for its elders. Make waves, make new roles, and reclaim old roles, admonishes Friedan. She interweaves the newest research on aging and psychology with her own personal experience of coming to terms with aging. She does not give into stereotypes but instead suggests vital alternatives that acknowledge the need to act one's age in a meaningful way. A true pioneer, she brings to this important topic her wisdom, strength, and courage gained from years of living. This program has something for listeners of all ages. Highly recommended.
From Kirkus Reviews
A book that explodes the myths of aging--just as, 30 years ago, Friedan exploded the mirage of the contented housewife. American women's lives changed forever with The Feminine Mystique--and this challenging exploration of aging may do the same for the skyrocketing population of men and women who have hit 60 and can anticipate 20 or 30 more years of living. The problem, Friedan says, is that although only about five percent of people over 65 are in nursing homes and fewer than ten percent ever will be, age is seen--by media, doctors, politicians, academics, even activists on behalf of the aging--as a ``problem,'' a ``plight,'' a time of rapidly decreasing physical and mental faculties. Older people buy into that picture, straining to stay youthful or removing themselves from active participation in society, often by retiring to ``leisure'' communities, whether or not leisure is what they crave. Friedan produces research studies and anecdotal evidence that the ``Third Age'' (after growing up and then generating a family and/or career) may be the age of true creativity--even of evolution. She examines the tragedies of productive lives cut short by early retirement; the new myths of menopause; early preparation for death; and anxious over protectiveness by family, friends, professionals, and government. In fact, the many resourceful older men and women cited here have found ways not only to sustain rewarding lives but to grow intellectually, emotionally, and even physically (Friedan discusses her own Outward Bound experience at age 60). That America's youth-oriented culture puts its elders on a social ice floe at a time when wisdom, experience, and honed critical faculties are most needed indicates, suggests Friedan, a nation with its priorities sadly skewed. Lengthy and slow to build, but, still, a far-sighted and far- reaching critique that may move the over-60s to reestablish the ``priorities of evolving life...and new visions for our stagnant society.''« less