Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Book Review: Joy of Ageing

The Joy of Ageing. Prof PV Ramamurti. Published by the Centre for Research on Ageing, Department of Psychology, SV University, Tirupati 517502. Rs 100/- (2008)

A Review by Dr P Vyasamoorthy

This important addition to the field of Psycho-social Gerontology was released during ISSGG – 2008. Let us take a quick pre-view on its contents:

The first chapter sets the scenario, by ending the chapter with the central teaching of the entire book: “Practicing positive thinking and making it an all time habit is the key to keep mental and physical health.” Chapter two gives statistics about older persons in India and the world. Next chapter deals with changes in the body functions as we age. All systems – Cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular-skeletal, digestive, excretory, reproductive, sense organs (like skin, eyes, ears, taste, smell) are covered. Chapter 4 deals with factors leading to good health like hygiene, surroundings, ventilation among others. Many hints are provided for diet in old age in the next chapter. “Keeping fit” talks of Yoga Exercises and what not? Chapter 7 describes living arrangements for the elderly, such as, living with the family, living in old age homes, availing oneself of paid care services or day care services. Criteria for choosing various types of stay are explained. Another important aspect, Money, is discussed in chapter 8. Here, savings, pension, income generation activities, cost of maintaining health are all taken up.

Managing Leisure, managing disabilities of old age and developing an interest in spirituality are explained in subsequent chapters. A self assessment Scale for assessing physical disability in Chapter 11 is very useful. It is simple and easy to use. Excellent tips are offered for maintaining interpersonal relations: this chapter especially addresses weaknesses of older persons and shows how to tackle ageism issues. The most important chapter, chap 13, “building a happy mindset, explains Trigunas of thought and how to make Satvik type of thinking a permanent way of life. Care and welfare of older persons comes next. Rights and responsibilities of senior citizens, National policy directives are listed. The last chapter Epilogue re-emphasizes how developing a permanent positive mindset is absolutely essential to enjoy old age.

As a sort of lagniappe author adds a series of five Top ten listings:

• Top ten Commandments for Happy Ageing
• Ten Tips for better health in old age
• Desirable food habits in Old age
• Tips to prevent falls in Old age
• How the Elderly can be asset to the family

I like this book because

• The chapters are short and the treatment is simple and lucid
• You may pick up any chapter and start reading without losing connectivity
• Cartoons by Raju , sprinkled throughout the book, provoke a smile – something the author wants you to do ever so often
• It offers sane sensible straight forward information / tips/ advice on several aspects of ageing and shows the way to age happily
• It renders itself easy for light reading on a serious subject
• It comes from the pen of Prof PV Ramanurti, an erudite scholar on India Gerontology (Want to know more about him? Click the link)
• Last, but not the least, the author is a member of sss-global.

Get the book, read for yourself and you will not be disappointed.

(I have a few copies of the book available at a special discount of 20% to sss-global members on cash and carry basis.)

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