#20BooksofSummer: The Book About Getting Older (for people who don’t want to talk about it) by Dr Lucy Pollock

The third of my reviews for this year’s #20BooksOfSummer challenge, hosted by Cathy at 746books.com is my only non-fiction choice this year and with my health librarian hat on, I would say that it is a book that everyone would benefit from reading.

Published by Michael Joseph Books, 2021

Dr Lucy Pollock is not just an experienced and compassionate geriatrician with a positive message to promote, she is also an engaging and entertaining writer. I was immediately struck by the accessible way in which she has presented a wealth of health information, which would be invaluable to a large percentage of the population, by framing this book through a series of stories with which readers can immediately empathise. The years of clinical experience are worn lightly and insights are presented with clear explanations which can be understood by anyone.

The Book About Getting Older celebrates longevity, explains how the final years of life can be lived positively and helps us all begin to have the necessary conversations about what is important to us as we get older. You will find clear-sighted and sensible discussion of poly-pharmacy, what is normal in old age and what is not normal, the concept of mental capacity, end-of-life care and a de-stigmatisation of dementia. Oh how I wish this book had been available 20 years ago when dementia cast its shadow in my own family. You see this book takes you by the hand as gently and kindly as the best clinician and leads you through so many aspects of the situations that confront us as we age, or watch those that we care for, age. In the company of Dr Lucy, the indignities and frailties of ageing do not seem such a frightening or lonely prospect. Quite the opposite, for the generous tone of this book is to celebrate the very old and to focus on those things that we can all do to live well for as long as possible.

It may also surprise you to know that there is a great deal of humour threaded through the book, with some passages that genuinely made me laugh out loud! The value of teamwork in the care of elderly patients is emphasised and practical ideas for improving social care are made, I hope that this book finds its way to the desks of some of our politicians! Dr Lucy’s respect for her patients as individuals and the life-lessons that she has learnt from them shine through the narrative. If people in power could see individuals through Dr Lucy’s lens rather than labelling older people with negative economic terminology such as “the demographic timebomb” one feels that something concrete would be done about social care.

I feel very passionately about this book, I think it will have a hugely positive impact on anyone who reads it and particularly for those who are in the lonely position of caring for a loved one. I have read the hardback version and also listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Lucy Pollock herself. In an ideal world everyone would have a geriatrician like Dr Lucy Pollock available when the complications of old age set in, the next best alternative is to get your hands on a copy of this book – in physical or audiobook format, and benefit from her wisdom, expertise and compassion.

10 books of summer
Image created by Cathy at 746books.com and used with permission.

So, here it is; one summer, three months, 10 books and I’m three books in! Thank you Cathy for hosting!

2 thoughts on “#20BooksofSummer: The Book About Getting Older (for people who don’t want to talk about it) by Dr Lucy Pollock

    1. Thank you Anne, I do hope that you both find it useful. I am on a mission to recommend this book as widely as I can as I think it contains so many kind, compassionate and useful messages. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Lucy for an event we hosted during Health Information Week. She is truly inspirational and her book absolutely reflects her caring personality.

      Liked by 1 person

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