Book Review: Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? by Joy Loverde

Reading  the latest book by Joy Loverde, Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?, a particular quote promptly came to mind. Albert Einstein once wrote, “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

This book centers around the notion of systematically deconstructing one’s fears regarding aging, while treating the attendant challenges as an opportunity for growth. One must honestly ask one’s self the tough questions: What will life be like when I am old? What if my partner – or children – die before me? Most fundamentally: Can I cope with what may come?

Book Review: Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? by Joy Loverde

Loverde’s well-supported answer is, yes, you can cope. This response is based on her career spent becoming an authority on issues of aging, beginning in the mid-1980s. Besides speaking before many groups and organizations worldwide, and acting as a consultant for a broad range of professionals involved in the eldercare advisory industry, along the way she also penned an earlier work, The Complete Eldercare Planner.

Planning for the future

As Loverde states in the book’s introduction, the challenges of getting older fill so many of us with self-doubt that we may simply evade planning for those later years. However, no one can afford to take it for granted that others will be there to look out for them, or that things will take care of themselves. If you accept that fact, then the question arises, How do I “plan” when there’s no knowing what lies in the future, and the possibilities seem infinite?

The author recognizes that the only way to achieve the necessary confidence to cope is a major decluttering of negative relationships and attitudes, not to mention unneeded material goods. The goal is to retain the items, relationships and attitudes that will benefit you, while also learning where to most profitably invest energy and trust, all the while learning to rely upon yourself.

Facing the “what ifs”

This book’s conversational tone, humor, positivity and straight talk effectively take the reader by the hand, leading them, step by step, through every possible scenario. What if I (or my loved one) develop Alzheimer’s, fall into depression, become widowed, or find myself taking care of grandchildren?

Loverde, with great thoroughness – though never wordiness – enables the reader to discover the right questions to ask, who to ask, and how to proceed once you’ve decided which direction to take. She includes plenty of lists with practical, easy to follow-up-on suggestions for getting the type of assistance you need.

Put simply, this is, as many other reviewers have stated, a must-read for those concerned about aging. Begin preparing now, Joy Loverde strongly advises, no matter how balanced your life may seem at present. She also states that the chapters can be read in whatever order works for you. The highly detailed index will help you to find pertinent topics.

Speaking from experience

From page one, Loverde draws on the strength and insights of her many senior friends, combining them with her own experiences to send the message that knowledge is power. Besides calling Einstein to mind, Loverde’s text reminds me of Dr. James Hollis’s latest book, The Examined Life.

Joy Loverde is offering the reader the same gift as Hollis: to assist the reader in doing the one thing life asks of us, which is to “show up” as our true selves. Both authors understand that you must know and accept yourself in order to making informed, confident decisions for the future, while developing the ability not to be thrown off-balance when the unexpected does occur.

Even more fundamentally, coming to view these challenges as the supreme opportunity for personal growth will result in your living a far fuller and deeper life: the life you were meant for.

A technique that's easy to follow

Loverde’s technique is to engage and focus the reader’s attention by structuring each chapter logically, making the material comfortably accessible. Each chapter contains the following elements:

    • OBJECTIVES: On the first page of each chapter is a series of bullet points representing what you will learn from it. For example, Chapter 2, Good-bye Change, Hello Transition, lists five goals for a person in transition, including these:
      • “Define and manage current unwanted change,”
      • “Be more open to the advice of others,” and
      • “Manage fear of the unknown.”
    • WORKSHEETS: Each chapter has at least one worksheet. The two for Chapter 2 are called Manage Change Worksheet and Risky Business Worksheet. The former, two-page worksheet consists of three sections with questions. If addressed honestly, these will contribute to your understanding of what you are feeling and thinking, and why. They also address what you may fear and recommend solutions.
  • CHECKLISTS: As an example, say that you eventually decide it’s time to find a transition counselor. What qualities should you look for? What questions should you ask of a candidate? The checklists for both these issues are here, along with a description of how your first session should proceed. From beginning to end, the author is with you.
  • VISUALIZATION TECHNIQUES: The author urges you to use your imagination to see yourself in a new light. This involves re-envisioning yourself as the competent and capable person you would like to be, and can be.
  • SELF-TALK: So much of what we tell ourselves is negative. Loverde created a series of realistic, strengthening, grounding mantras to meditate upon. Chapter 2, for example, includes half a dozen. Here are two: “I will not be in limbo forever. This is a temporary situation.” “I have survived tough times before and I am determined to make it through this one, too.”
  • RESOURCES: There’s no reason to do all this work if you’re going to be left saying, “OK, so now what?” And so, Joy Loverde supplies carefully researched resources for the reader (including podcasts, websites, books, articles, Youtube videos, and more).

We are not alone

From the dedication (in which the author acknowledges the courage of the reader) throughout this read, Loverde is reminding the reader that, though each of our paths is a personal experience, there is nothing essentially new here, and that we never need to feel alone.

This title is available in paperback, eReader, and audiobook formats from Amazon. 



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